The Project Gutenberg EBook of The First Seventeen Years: Virginia
1607-1624, by Charles E. Hatch
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Title: The First Seventeen Years: Virginia 1607-1624
Author: Charles E. Hatch
Release Date: December 28, 2009 [EBook #30780]
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[Illustration: Matoaka als Rebecka daughter to the mighty Prince
Powhatan Emperour of Attanoughkomouck als virginia converted and
baptized in the Christian faith, and wife to the worshipful Mr. John
From Weddell, _A Memorial Volume of Virginia Historical Portraiture_]
THE FIRST SEVENTEEN YEARS
CHARLES E. HATCH, JR.
The University Press of Virginia
COPYRIGHT(C), 1957 BY
VIRGINIA 350TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
CORPORATION, WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA
_Tenth printing 1991_
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The University Press of Virginia / Charlottesville
The Start of Colonization 1
The Establishment of Jamestown 4
Summer and Fall, 1607 5
The Three Supplies, 1608-1610 6
A Critical Hour 10
Order and More Stable Ways 12
Yeardley and Argall 18
A New Approach 21
Yeardley and Wyatt 26
Virginia and the Dissolution 29
The Spread of Settlement--1607 to 1624 34
Towns, Plantations, Settlements, and Communities in
Virginia: 1607-1624 (numbers are keyed to text and
to illustrating map) 32, 33
1. Pasbehegh Country--1617 35
A. Argall Town--1617 36
B. Pasbehegh--c.1617 37
C. "the Maine"--1608 37
2. Smith's (Southampton) Hundred--1617 38
3. "Tanks Weyanoke"--c.1618 41
4. Swinhows--before 1622 43
5. Westover--c.1619 43
6. Berkeley Town and Hundred--1619 44
7. Causey's Care (or "Cleare")--c.1620 46
8. West and Shirley Hundred--c.1613 47
9. Upper Hundred-"Curls"--c.1613 49
10. "Diggs His Hundred"--c.1613 49
11. The "citty of Henricus" (Henrico)--1611 50
12. Arrahatock--before 1619 52
13. The College Lands--c.1619 53
14. The Falls--1609 56
15. Falling Creek--c.1619 57
16. Sheffield's Plantation--before 1622 59
17. Proctor's Plantation--before 1622 60
18. Coxendale--c.1611 60
19. "Bermuda Citty" (Charles City) Incorporation 62
A. Bermuda Hundred--1613 62
B. Rochdale Hundred--1613 63
C. Bermuda City--1613 63
20. Piercey's Plantation--c.1620 66
21. Jordan's Journey--c.1619 67
22. Woodleefe's Plantation--c.1619 68
23. Chaplain's Choice--c.1623 68
24. Truelove's Plantation--c.1621 69
25. "Powle-brooke" or Merchant's Hope--1619 70
26. Maycock's Plantation--c.1618 71
27. Flowerdieu Hundred-Piercey's Hundred--c.1618 71
28. "Captaine Spilmans Divident"--before 1622 73
29. Ward's Plantation--c.1619 73
30. Martin's Brandon--c.1617 75
31. "Paces-Paines"--1620 77
32. Burrow's Mount--c.1624 78
33. Plantations "Over the river from Jamestown" 79
A. Treasurer's Plantation (George Sandys)--c. 1621 80
B. Hugh Crowder's Plantation--c.1622 81
C. Edward Blaney's Plantation--c.1624 81
D. Capt. Roger Smith's Plantation--c.1622 82
E. Capt. Samuel Mathews' Plantation--c.1622 82
34. Hog Island--1609 83
35. Lawne's Plantation--1619 85
36. Warrascoyack (Bennett's Plantation)--1621 86
37. "Basse's Choyse"--1622 89
38. Nansemond--1609 89
39. The Eastern Shore--c.1614 90
40. Elizabeth City (Kecoughtan)--1610 93
41. Newport News--1621 98
42. Blunt Point--c.1621 101
43. Mulberry Island--c.1617 102
44. Martin's Hundred--1618 104
45. Archer's Hope--c.1619 107
46. "Neck-of-Land neare James Citty"--before 1624 109
Selected Readings 112
Appendix; Supplies for Virginia 114
The colonization of Virginia was a mammoth undertaking even though
launched by a daring and courageous people in an expanding age. The
meager knowledge already accumulated was at hand to draw on and England
was not without preparation to push for "its place in the sun." There
was a growing navy, there was trained leadership, there was capital,
there was organization and there were men ready to make the gamble for
themselves and to the glory of God and for their country.
It remained for the Virginia Company of London, under its charter of
April 10, 1606, to found the first permanent English settlement in
America. This company, a commercial organization from its inception,
assumed a national character, since its purpose was to "deduce" a
"colony." It was instrumental, under its charter provisions, in
guaranteeing to the settlers in the New World the rights, freedoms, and
privileges enjoyed by Englishmen at home as well as the enjoyment of
their customary manner of living which they adapted to their new
environment with the passage of years. Quite naturally the settlers
brought with them their church and reverence for God, maintained trial
by jury and their rights as free men, and soon were developing
representative government at Jamestown.
The immediate and long-range reasons for the settlement were many and,
perhaps, thoroughly mixed. Profit and exploitation of the country were
expected, for, after all, this was a business enterprise. A permanent
settlement was the objective. Support, financial and popular, came from
a cross section of English life. It seems obvious from accounts and
papers of the period that it was generally thought that Virginia was
being settled for the glory of God, for the honor of the King, for the
welfare of England, and for the advancement of the Company and its
In England, and in Virginia, they expected and did carry the word of God
to the natives, although not with the same verve as the Spanish. They
expected to develop natural resources, to free the mother country from
dependence on European states, to strengthen their navy, and to increase
national wealth and power. They expected to be a thorn in the side of
the Spanish Empire; in fact, they hoped one day to challenge and
overshadow that empire. They sought to find the answer to what seemed to
be unemployment at home. They sought many things not the least of them
being gold, silver, land and personal advancement. As the men stepped
ashore on Jamestown Island, perhaps each had a slightly different view
of why he was there, yet some one or a combination of these motives was
probably the reason.
The first section of this account is an adaptation, by the
author of the booklet, _Jamestown, Virginia: The Town Site and
Its Story_ (National Park Service, Historical Handbook Series,
No. 2) published by the Government Printing Office,
Washington, D. C., 1949.
[Illustration: Portrait from John Smith's _General History_ (London,
1624). Courtesy of the Tracy W. McGregor Library, University of
[Illustration: "James Fort" built in May and June, 1607--_A painting by
Sidney King for Colonial National Historical Park._]
[Illustration: The Arrival of the Settlers at Jamestown on May 13, 1607.
English Merchantmen of the size and date of the _Godspeed_ 40 tons,
_Susan Constant_ 100 tons, and the "pinnessee" _Discovery_ 20 tons
maneuvering for anchorage off Jamestown Island 1607. _A pencil Study by
Griffith Bailey Coale, courtesy of Mariners Museum._]
[Illustration: Worship at Cape Henry on April 29, 1607 as depicted by
Stephen Reid. _Courtesy of the Chrysler Museum at Norfolk._]
[Illustration: Pottery-making as it may have been done in the early
years at Jamestown where such work was carried on. _A painting by Sidney
King for Colonial National Historical Park._]
[Illustration: "The Cooper" as he may have worked in early Jamestown. _A
painting by Sidney King for Colonial National Historical Park._]
[Illustration: Shipbuilding, known to have been carried on at Jamestown
as early as 1609, may have been done in this manner. _A painting by
Sidney King for Colonial National Historical Park._]
[Illustration: A winter scene suggestive of life on Jamestown Island
about 1625. _From a painting by Sidney King for Colonial National
[Illustration: A home such as could have existed at Jamestown by 1625.
_From a painting for Colonial National Historical Park by Sidney
On May 13, 1607, three small English ships approached Jamestown Island
in Virginia: the _Susan Constant_ of 100 tons, commanded by Captain
Christopher Newport and carrying seventy-one persons; the _Godspeed_ of
forty tons, commanded by Captain Bartholomew Gosnold and carrying
fifty-two persons; and the _Discovery_, a pinnace of twenty tons, under
Captain John Ratcliffe with twenty-one persons. During the day they
maneuvered the ships so close to the shore that they were "moored to the
trees in six fathom [of] water." The next day, May 14, George Percy
continues, "we landed all our men, which were set to worke about the
fortification, others some to watch and ward as it was convenient." In
this manner the first permanent English settlement in America was begun
on the shores of the James River, in Virginia, about twenty years after
the ill-fated attempts to establish a colony on Roanoke Island and
thirteen years before the Pilgrims made their historic landing at
Plymouth in New England.
THE START OF COLONIZATION
The expedition of 1607, dispatched by the Virginia Company of London,
included supplies and no less than 145 persons of whom 104 or 105
(depending on which of the more detailed contemporary accounts is
accepted) were to remain in Virginia as the first settlers. The fleet
left England late in 1606. It moved down the Thames River from London on
December 20 and, after a slow start, the ships proceeded over the long
route through the West Indies. Captain Newport was in command, and the
identity of the councilors who were to govern in Virginia lay hidden in
a locked box not to be opened until their destination had been reached.
Dissension at one point on the voyage led to charges against John Smith
who reached the New World in confinement. This was suggestive of the
later personal and group feuds and disagreements that plagued the first
years of the Virginia Colony. It was a condition that grew out of the
initial organization that placed authority in Virginia in a Council
rather than in a single governor. It led John Rolfe, in 1616, to write,
in retrospect, that: "the beginning of this plantacion was governed by a
President & Councell aristocraticallie. The President yerely chosen out
of the Councell, which consisted of twelve persons. This government
lasted above two yeres: in which time such envie, dissentions and jarrs
were daily sowen amongst them, that they choaked the seedes and blasted
the fruits of all mens labors."
The "Land of Virginia" was first seen by the lookout on April 26, and
just a little later in the same day a party was sent ashore at Cape
Henry to make what was the first landing in the wilderness which they
came to conquer. Having been aboard ship for many weeks, the settlers
found the expanse of land, the green virgin trees, the cool, fresh
water, and the unspoiled landscape a pleasant view to behold. At Cape
Henry they saw Indians and several of the party were wounded by their
arrows, notably Capt. Gabriel Archer, one of the experienced leaders.
They built a "shallop," went exploring into the country for short
distances by land and water, enjoyed the spring flowers, and tasted
roasted oysters and "fine beautiful strawberries." On April 29, a cross
was set up among the sand dunes. The next day the ships were moved from
Cape Henry into Chesapeake Bay to the site on Hampton Roads which they
named Point Comfort, now Old Point Comfort.
For about two weeks, explorations were made along both banks of the
James, below and above Jamestown, from its mouth to a point as far
upstream perhaps as the mouth of the Appomattox River near present
Hopewell. Parties went ashore to investigate promising areas, and
communication was established with the native tribes. On May 12, a
point of land at the mouth of Archer's Hope, now College Creek, a little
below Jamestown, was examined in detail. From this site the ships moved
directly to Jamestown, where they arrived May 13. On May 14, they landed
and broke ground for the fort and the town that ultimately won the
distinction of the first permanent English settlement in America and the
Capital of the Virginia Colony for almost a century.
In May 1607, the days were warm; the nights, cool. Life was stirring in
the wilderness and nature had been generous, the colonists thought.
There were fruits, abundant timber, deer and other animals for food, and
a not too numerous native population. The hot, humid weather of
midsummer and the snow, ice, and emptiness of winter were not in
evidence. The choice of a site for settlement was both good and bad. The
anchorage for ships at Jamestown was good. The Island had not then
become a true island and had an easily controlled dry land isthmus
connection with the mainland. As the river narrows here, it was one of
the best control points on the James. It had been abandoned by the
Indians; and it was a bit inland, hence somewhat out of range of the
Spanish menace. Arable land on the Island was limited by inlets and
"guts." The marshes bred in abundance, even the deadly mosquitoes whose
forebears had been brought from the West Indies in the colonists' own
vessels; and, with contamination so easy, drinking water was a problem.
All of these facts became evident to these first English Americans as
the months went by.
When the orders were opened after arrival in Virginia, it was found that
the governing body in the Colony was made up of seven councilors. Edward
Maria Wingfield, of gallant service in the Low Countries; Bartholomew
Gosnold and Christopher Newport, both seasoned seamen and captains; John
Ratcliffe, who piloted the _Discovery_ to Virginia; John Martin, an
earlier commander under Drake; John Smith, already an experienced
adventurer; and George Kendall, a cousin of Sir Edwin Sandys who later
was to play a dominant role in the Virginia Company. To this list can
be added other prominent names: George Percy, brother to the Earl of
Northumberland and a trained sailor; Gabriel Archer, a lawyer who had
already explored in the New England country; and Reverend Robert Hunt,
the vicar at Jamestown, whose pious and exemplary living was noted by
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF JAMESTOWN
The work of establishing Jamestown and of exploring the country round
about began almost simultaneously and remarkable strides were made in a
short time. The several weeks between May 13 and June 22, when Newport
left Virginia for a return to England, were busy ones. At Jamestown an
area was cleared of trees and the fort begun. The soil was readied and
the English wheat brought over for the purpose was planted. At this
point Newport, in one of the small boats, led an exploring party as far
as the falls of the James. He was absent from Jamestown about a week and
returned to find that the Indians had launched a fierce attack on the
new settlement which had been saved, perhaps, by the fact that the ships
were near at hand. These afforded safe quarters and carried cannon on
their decks that had a frightening effect on the natives.
The fort was completed about mid-June. It was triangular in shape, with
a "bulwarke" at each corner which was shaped like a "halfe moone."
Within the "bulwarkes" were mounted four or five pieces of artillery:
demiculverins which fired balls of about nine pounds in weight. The fort
enclosed about one acre with its river side extending 420 feet and its
other sides measuring 300 feet. The principal gate faced the river and
was in the south side (curtain) of the fort, although there were other
openings, one at each "bulwarke," and each was protected by a piece of
ordnance. The church, storehouse, and living quarters were flimsily
built of perishable materials, within the walls of the palisaded fort,
along fixed "streets" and around an open yard. For the first few years
this fort was Jamestown.
Before the fort was completed the wheat had come up and was growing
nicely, as George Percy wrote in what was probably the first essay on
farming along the James River. About June 10, John Smith, partly through
the intercession of Robert Hunt, was released and admitted to his seat
on the Council. Relations with the Indians improved. On June 21, the
third Sunday after Trinity, the first recorded Anglican communion was
celebrated. "We had comunion. Captain Newport dined ashore with our
diet, and invited many of us to supper as a farewell." The next day,
Christopher Newport raised anchor and began the return trip to England.
He took letters from those remaining in Virginia and carried accounts
describing Virginia and the events that had occurred. The settlement had
been made, and the future seemed promising.
SUMMER AND FALL, 1607
Within the short span of two months, conditions changed drastically. The
Indians became cautious and distrustful, and provisions, not
sufficiently augmented from the country, began to run low. Spoilage
destroyed some food, and, with the coming of the hot, humid weather, the
brackish drinking water proved dangerous. In August, death struck often
and quickly, taking among others the stabilizing hand of Captain
Gosnold. Inexperience, unwillingness, or inability due to insufficient
food, to do the hard work that was necessary and the lack of sufficient
information about how to survive in a primeval wilderness led to
bickering, disagreements, and, to what was more serious still, inaction.
As the first summer wore on it was natural that hostility should develop
toward the titular head of the Colony. Had the first president, Edward
Maria Wingfield, been a stronger, more adventurous, and more daring man,
conditions might have been a little better, despite his lack of real
authority. He was not the leader to act, and, to reason later.
Consequently, opinion was arrayed against him and charges, some unjust
no doubt, were formed that led to his deposition and replacement in one
of the two celebrated jury trials which occurred at Jamestown about
mid-September. His successor, perhaps no more able, was John Ratcliffe
who continued for about a year until he was deposed and replaced by
Matthew Scrivener, one of those who came over with the first supply. It
was a little later, in 1608, that Captain John Smith took the helm as
chief councilor, which was what the president really was. It was under
the presidency of Ratcliffe, however, that Smith emerged as an able,
experienced leader, who preferred action to inaction even though it
might be questioned later. His work and his decisions, sometimes wise,
sometimes not so wise, did much to insure the initial survival of the
When the first cool days of approaching autumn touched Jamestown, in
1607, spirits rose and hopefulness supplanted despair. Disease, which
had reduced the number to less than fifty persons, subsided; the
oppressive heat lessened; and Indian crops of peas, corn, and beans
began to mature. Friendly relations were established with the natives,
and barter trade developed. As the leaves fell, game became easier to
get, ducks multiplied in the ponds and marshes, and life in general
seemed brighter. Work was resumed in preparation for the coming winter,
and exploration was undertaken.
It was in December, 1607, while investigating the Chickahominy River
area, that Smith was taken by the Indians. He was eventually carried
before Powhatan who released him, some say through the intercession of
the young Pocahontas. Upon return to Jamestown he was caught in the
meshes of a feuding Council and was faced even with the possibility of
being hanged for the death of his companions.
THE THREE SUPPLIES, 1608-1610
All was forgotten early in January, however, when Newport reached
Jamestown with the first supply for the settlers. He brought food,
equipment, instructions, and news from home. The two ships of the
supply had left England together, but the second did not reach Virginia
Shortly after Newport's arrival in January, disaster came. Fire swept
through "James Fort," consuming habitations, provisions, ammunition,
some of the palisades and even Reverend Robert Hunt's books. This was a
serious blow in the face of winter weather. With the help of Newport and
his sailors, the church, storehouse, palisades, and cabins were
partially rebuilt before he sailed again for England early in April.
Much more could have been done had he not consumed so many days in a
pompous visit and lengthy negotiations with the wily Powhatan. Then,
too, the ships had to be loaded for the return voyage, for the London
backers were calling loudly for profitable produce.
The first of the spring months were spent in cutting cedar logs and
preparing "clapboards" for sale in England, and a little later there
seems to have been a mild "gold rush" at Jamestown as some hopeful
looking golden colored soil was found. This all delayed early spring
clearing and planting, and boded ill for the coming summer when Smith
undertook additional explorations.
It was in September 1608 that Smith became president in fact and
inaugurated a program of physical improvement at Jamestown. The area
about the fort was enlarged and the standing structures repaired. At
this point, in October, the second supply arrived, including seventy
settlers, who, when added to the survivors in Virginia, raised the
over-all population to about 120.
Among the new arrivals were two women, Mistress Forrest and her maid.
Several months later, in the church at Jamestown, the maid, Ann Burras,
was married to one of the settlers, John Laydon, a carpenter by trade.
This marriage has been ranked as "the first recorded English marriage on
the soil of the United States." Their child, Virginia, born the next
year, was the first to be born at Jamestown.
With the second supply came workmen sent over to produce glass, pitch,
soap ashes, and other items profitable in England. So rapidly did they
begin the search for a source of wealth that "trials" of at least some
of the products were sent home when Newport left Jamestown before the
end of the year.
In addition to settlers and supplies, Newport brought more instructions
from the Company officials. The Colony was not succeeding financially,
and it was urged that the Council spend more time in planning the
preparation of marketable products. It was urged, too, that gold be
sought more actively; that Powhatan be crowned as a recognition
befitting his position; and that more effort be expended in search of
the Roanoke settlers. These projects, all untimely, were emphasized, and
the more pressing needs of adequate shelter and sufficient food were
In the interval from about February to May 1609, there was considerable
material progress in and about Jamestown. Perhaps forty acres were
cleared and prepared for planting in Indian corn, the new grain that
fast became a staple commodity. A "deep well" was dug in the fort. The
church was re-covered and twenty cabins built. A second trial was made
at glass manufacture in the furnaces built late in 1608. A blockhouse
was built at the isthmus which connected the Island to the mainland for
better control of the Indians, and a new fort was erected on a tidal
creek across the river from Jamestown.
Smith was now in command, as his fellow councilors either had returned
to England or were dead. About this time there came a new disaster. With
all attention centered on the numerous construction projects,
insufficient protection was given the meager supply of grain. When
discovered, rats had consumed almost all of the vital corn stores. Faced
with this situation, Smith found it necessary to scatter the settlers,
sending some to live with the Indians and some to eat at the oyster
banks. Only "a small guarde of gentlemen & some others [were left] about
the president at James Towne."
In midsummer of 1609, conditions at Jamestown were not good, although it
is doubtful that they were any worse than during the two previous
summers. The settlers were becoming acclimated, and they were learning
the ways of the new country. Supplies were low, yet the number of
colonists was small, and a good harvest and a good fall might have
improved matters had not some 400 new, inexperienced settlers sailed
into the James with only damaged supplies. To add to other
complications, they brought fever and plague. In the selection of
prospective settlers for the voyage the standards had been low, and too
many ne'er-do-wells, and even renegades, had been included.
This was the third supply, and it reached Jamestown in August.
Unfortunately it arrived without its leadership and the authority to
institute the governmental changes which the Company had authorized.
These changes provided for the appointment by the Company of a strong
governor with an advisory council in Virginia. Sir Thomas Gates had been
dispatched as Governor, yet the ship bearing him, along with Sir George
Somers and Captain Newport was wrecked in the Bermuda Islands.
Reaching Virginia in the third supply were several men who had been
earlier leaders in the Colony and who were now all hostile to Smith:
Archer, Ratcliffe, and Martin. A confusing scene developed over command.
The old leaders, particularly Smith, refused to give way to the new in
the absence of Gates, the appointed governor. There was considerable
bickering which led to an uneasy settlement, leaving Smith in charge for
the duration of his yearly term, now almost expired.
It was obvious to everyone that there were too many men for all to
remain at Jamestown. John Martin was sent to attempt a settlement at
Nansemond, on the south side of the James below Jamestown, while Captain
Francis West, brother of Lord De La Warr, was sent to settle at the
falls of the James. Returning to Jamestown after an inspection tour at
the falls, Captain Smith was injured by burning gunpowder and
incapacitated. Ratcliffe, Archer, and Martin seemingly used this
opportunity to depose him and to compel him to return to England to face
their charges against him as had been the fate of previous presidents.
These three men, failing to agree on a replacement from their own
number, persuaded George Percy to accept the position of president.
Percy was in command during the terrible winter that followed.
The winter of 1609-10 has been described through the years as the
"starving time," seemingly, an accurate description. It saw the
population shrink from 500 to about sixty as a result of disease,
sickness, Indian arrows, and malnutrition. It destroyed morale and
reduced the men to scavengers stalking the forest, fields, and woods for
anything that might be used as food. When spring came there was little
spirit left in the settlement. It would seem unjust to attribute the
disaster to Percy, who did what he could to ameliorate conditions by
attempting trade and keeping the men busy. The "starving time" appears
to have been caused by an accumulation of circumstances not the least of
them being internal dissension and the now open hostility of the Indian.
The heavy use of force and armed persuasion in dealing with them was
bound to have its effect. It cut off the badly needed supply of corn and
other Indian foods.
A CRITICAL HOUR
In May 1610, the hearts of the weary settlers were gladdened when Sir
Thomas Gates, their new governor, sailed into the James. For about a
year he and the survivors of the wreck of the _Sea Venture_ had labored
in Bermuda to make possible the continuation of their voyage to
Virginia. For the purpose they built two small boats, the _Patience_ and
the _Deliverance_. It was not a pleasant sight that greeted them at
Jamestown. Ruin and desolation were everywhere. Gates, with his Council,
on July 7, 1610, wrote that Jamestown seemed "raither as the ruins of
some auntient [for]tification, then that any people living might now
Gates promptly distributed provisions, such as he had, and introduced a
code of martial law, the code that was strengthened later by De La Warr
and made famous by its strict enforcement during the governorship of Sir
Thomas Dale. After surveying the condition of the settlement and
realizing that the supplies he had brought would not last three weeks,
Gates took counsel with the leaders. They decided to abandon the
settlement. On June 7, 1610, the settlers, except some of the Poles and
Dutchmen who were with Powhatan, boarded the ship, left Jamestown, and
started down the James.
The next morning, while still in the river, advance word reached Gates
that Lord De La Warr had arrived at Point Comfort on the way to
Jamestown and was bringing 150 settlers and a generous supply. The bad
news carried to England by the returning ships of the third supply, late
in 1609, had caused considerable stir in Virginia Company circles and
had resulted in De La Warr's decision to go to Virginia. Learning of the
new supply, Gates hastened back to Jamestown. The new settlement had
been saved in a manner that was recognized at that time as an act of
On June 10, De La Warr reached "James Citty" and made his landing. He
entered the fort through the south gate, and, with his colors flying,
went on to the church where Reverend Richard Buck delivered an
impressive sermon. Then his ensign, Anthony Scott, read his commission,
and Gates formally delivered to him his own authority as governor. De La
Warr's arrival had given the settlement new life and new hope. Lean
times lay ahead, yet the most difficult years lay behind. Virginia now
had a government that made for stability under the governor, and the old
settlers, who, a little later, came to be called "ancient planters," had
learned well by experience.
Gates, after dealing with the Indians, left for England. De La Warr, who
continued to live aboard ship for a time, called a Council, reorganized
the colonists, and directed operations to promote the welfare of the
Colony, including the construction of two forts near Point Comfort. He
fell sick, however, and, after a long illness, was forced to leave
Jamestown and Virginia in March 1611. The now veteran administrator,
George Percy, was made governor in charge. With De La Warr went Dr.
Lawrence Bohun, who had experimented extensively with the curative
powers of plants and herbs at Jamestown.
ORDER AND MORE STABLE WAYS
In May, 1611 Sir Thomas Dale, on military leave from his post in the Low
Countries, arrived as deputy governor of Virginia. With him were three
ships, three smaller boats, 300 people, domestic animals, and supplies.
He proceeded to give form and substance to the martial law which had
been evoked by his predecessors and to the achievement of rather severe
regimentation. He began by posting proclamations "for the publique view"
at Jamestown. Later, he thoroughly inspected suitable settlement sites
and surveyed conditions generally. He wrote, on May 25, that on arrival
at Jamestown he found "... no corn sett, some few seeds put into a
private garden or two; but the cattle, cows, goats, swine, poultry &c to
be well and carefully on all hands preserved and all in good plight and
To get things in order at the seat of government, one party was
designated to repair the church, another to work on the stable, another
to build a wharf. When things were reasonably well in hand at Jamestown,
he made plans to push the decision to open a new settlement above
Jamestown which, he hoped, would become the real center of the Colony.
The reasons for such a removal of the seat of government are well known:
not sufficient high land at Jamestown, poor drinking water, too much
marsh, and a location not far enough upstream to be out of reach of the
Spanish. Too often the reality of the ever present Spanish threat to
Virginia is overlooked. Spain, still strong, had long been dominant in
the New World and had known intentions of eliminating the English. That
they never effectively moved in this direction did not lessen the fear
in the Colony in the early years. This explains the various alarms that
went out along the James from time to time. Quite naturally there was
concern when spies were landed at Point Comfort in 1611. These were kept
under careful scrutiny for several years, until disposition was made of
In the very critical period of 1611-1616, during the administrations of
Gates and Dale, emphasis was away from Jamestown. Emphasis fell on newly
established Henrico and then on Bermuda together with their related
settlements. Attention was given, too, to Kecoughtan and a settlement
was made even on the Eastern Shore. Despite all of this, Jamestown
remained as Virginia's capital. In 1612, "Master George Percie ... [was
busy] with the keeping of Jamestown" while much of the Colony had been
"moved up river." The first settlement now was looked upon as chiefly a
place of safety for hogs and cattle.
In 1614 it was made up of "two faire rowes of howses, all of framed
timber, two stories, and an upper garret or corne loft high, besides
three large, and substantiall storehowses joined togeather in length
some hundred and twenty foot, and in breadth forty...." Without the town
"... in the Island [were] some very pleasant, and beutifull howses, two
blockhowses ... and certain other framed howses." In 1616 it was a post
of fifty under the command of Lieutenant John Sharpe, who was acting in
the absence of Captain Francis West. Thirty-one of these were "farmors"
and all maintained themselves with "food and raiment."
The Gates-Dale five-year administration (1611-16) actually saw Virginia
established as a going concern. The role of Dale in all of this seems to
have been a heavy, perhaps the predominant, one although the role of
Gates should not be overlooked. Martial law brought order and uniformity
in operations and compelled the people to work regularly, the hours
being six to ten in the morning, two to four in the afternoon. Dale saw
to it that corn was planted and harvested, that houses and boats were
built, and that the new laws were strictly observed. He pressed one and
all into service, even the women, some of whom "were appointed to make
shirtes for the Colony servants" using carefully rationed needle and
thread. Dale was credited, by a contemporary, as building on the
foundations laid by Gates in a manner that dealt effectively with the
two greatest "enemies and disturbers of our proceedings": "enmity with
the naturalls, and ... famine." Among the important achievements was the
careful husbanding of livestock to the end that a "great stock of kine,
goates, and other cattle" was built up for the company "for the service
of the publique."
Both Gates and Dale proceeded with a stern attitude toward the Indians.
In the end it was possible to arrive at a peaceful state by force and
negotiation. Dale recognized, too, that the Pocahontas-John Rolfe
marriage, in 1614, was "an other knot to binde this peace the stronger."
This helped to strengthen the treaties worked out with old Powhatan and
with the closer Chickahominies.
So effective were all of these measures that John Rolfe, in 1616, wrote
"whereupon a peace was concluded, which still continues so firme, that
our people yearlely plant and reape quietly, and travell in the woods a
fowling and a hunting as freely and securely from danger or treacherie
as in England. The great blessings of God have followed this peace, and
it, next under him, hath bredd our plentie...."
All this was accomplished when the fortunes of the Virginia Company were
at a low point and little support was being sent to the Colony. John
Rolfe then went on to predict that Dale's "worth and name ... will out
last the standing of this plantation...."
Martial law, strictly administered at first, was gradually relaxed in
application as conditions stabilized. Prior to 1614 Dale took the
momentous step of allotting "to every man in the Colony [excepting the
Bermuda Hundred people], three English acres of cleere corne ground,
which every man is to manure and tend, being in the nature of farmers."
Along with the three acres went exemption from much Company service and
such as was required was not to be in "seede time, or in harvest." There
was, however, to be a yearly levy of "two barrels and a halfe of corne"
and, except for clothing, a loss of right to draw on the Company store.
This greatly advanced individual responsibility and was a big step
toward the evolution of private property. In the beginning all ownership
was Company controlled. The reason for this is evident. The colonists
could not provide food and other necessaries all at once in a wilderness
infested by savages. A storehouse, or as it was termed, "a magazine,"
was provided in which all supplies were placed, and to which all
products obtained from the land were brought. This was a safety measure,
both for the Company, which had expended much for supplies, and for the
settlers. This plan has been misunderstood frequently by writers. It did
have its disadvantages. In time, with growth, and increased production,
the system passed away. The general division of land, promised in 1609,
was not to come until 1619. Dale took an interim step that had far
reaching importance in establishing permanency and stability.
Gates and Dale in their administration had the help of other
enterprising and daring early Virginians such as Samuel Argall, John
Rolfe, the Reverend Alexander Whitaker, Ralph Hamor and others. In the
case of Captain Samuel Argall, criticism of his later work as governor
often beclouds his earlier helpfulness in getting Virginia established.
He pioneered in making a direct crossing of the Atlantic to save time
and to avoid the Spanish. Argall led in exploration, both in Virginia
waters and northward along the coastline. He was adept at shipbuilding
and in the Indian trade. It was evidently he who discovered the best
fishing seasons and the fact that the fish made "runs" in the bay and in
the rivers. He made open attack on the French settlements to the north
in New England and Nova Scotia, returning to Jamestown with his
captives. There is little wonder that a contemporary wrote, "Captain
Argal whose indevores in this action intitled him most worthy."
It was Argall, too, who, while on a trading expedition on the Potomac,
captured Pocahontas and brought her prisoner to Jamestown in an attempt
to deal with her father, Powhatan. She was well received at Jamestown,
where earlier she had often visited, and when her father refused to pay
the price asked for her ransom, she was detained. Later, she preferred
life with the English and did not wish to return to her native village.
She was placed under the tutelage of Reverend Alexander Whitaker who
instructed her in the Christian faith. Eventually she was baptized, and,
in April 1614, in the church at Jamestown, married John Rolfe.
This was a reflection of the religious concern that existed in Virginia.
One of the ministers, Alexander Whitaker reported: That: "Sir Thomas
Dale (with whom I am) is a man of great knowledge in divinity, and of a
good conscience in all his doings: both which bee rare in a martiall
man. Every Sabbath day wee preach in the forenoone, and chatechize in
the afternoone. Every Saturday at night I exercise in Sir Thomas Dales
house. Our Church affaires bee consulted on by the minister, and foure
of the most religious men. Once every moneth wee have a communion, and
once a yeer a solemn fast."
It was John Rolfe who pioneered in the cultivation of the plant that was
to be Virginia's economic salvation, tobacco. In the first years of the
settlement every effort had been made to find products in the New World
that would assure financial success for the settlers and the Company.
Pitch, tar, timber, sassafras, cedar, and other natural products were
sent in the returning ships. Attempts to produce glass on a paying scale
proved futile, as did early efforts to make silk, using the native
mulberry trees growing in abundance. The glass furnaces fell into
disuse, and rats ate the silkworms. Even the native tobacco plant
(_Nicotiana rustica_), found growing wild, was, as William Strachey
reported, "... not of the best kind ... [but was] poore and weake, and
of a biting tast ..." and initially held little promise.
It was about 1610-11 that seed was imported into Virginia from the
island of Trinidad very probably at the hand of John Rolfe, an ardent
smoker, who was credited by Ralph Hamor as the pioneer English colonist
in regularly growing tobacco for export. Hence he can be called the
father of the American tobacco industry. In its initial stage, too,
there was encouragement from the experienced Captain George Yeardley.
Following the process of selection and crossing which had proved so
successful for the Spanish cultivators in the West Indies, the initial
efforts were rewarding. The new plant (_Nicotiana tabacum_) proved
easily naturalized and adaptable to the Virginia soil.
The initial success led to an experimental shipment of tobacco from
Virginia in 1613. This was of pleasing taste and was well received in
some quarters. Soon tract after tract was cleaned of its native
_Nicotiana rustica_ as the settlers turned to the promising new species.
For a few years production was slow since English dealers were reluctant
to hazard too much on an uncertain commodity. In the 1615-16 period
Spain sent tobacco into London at the rate of twenty-five pounds for
each of the 2,300 pounds coming from Virginia. This was not to continue,
however, since English leaders were growing hostile to the successful
Spanish trade. Even before becoming aware of the Virginia product, they
were, with some success, encouraging production in England itself.
Despite domestic tobacco, however, and the favor of Spanish leaf, the
Virginia product, cheaper than the Spanish, began to win friendly users
in London and in the other cities. To meet the demand and to produce
profits, the young colony all but abandoned other industries and even
its staples, to the concern of the Company, for the cultivation of "the
weed." Soon governors were taking measures to restrict planting in the
interest of producing foodstuffs and in defending themselves. Captain
Samuel Argall, who came to Jamestown in 1617, is said to have found "but
five or six houses, the church downe, the palizado's broken, the bridge
in pieces, the well of fresh water spoiled; the store-house ... used for
the church; the marketplace, and streets, and all other spare places
planted with tobacco; the salvages as frequent in their homes as
themselves, whereby they were become expert in our armes ... the Colonie
dispersed all about planting Tobacco." In 1617 Virginia exported some
20,000 pounds, in 1619 this had doubled and in 1629, only a decade and a
half after the first shipment, the total reached 1,500,000 pounds.
Thus, a new trade and industry were born in the Colony. Tobacco proved
to be the economic salvation of Virginia, and provided a means that
brought land into use and made slavery profitable. Tobacco and slavery
together led to the development of important characteristics of the
whole social, political, and economic structure of the Old South. One of
the immediate effects of tobacco culture in Virginia was the impetus it
gave to the expansion of the area of settlement and to the number of
settlers coming to Virginia.
YEARDLEY AND ARGALL
When Dale departed Virginia in May, 1616 there was more security,
stability, good management, deeper understanding of the new land, and a
keener knowledge of survival than had existed prior to this date. Even
so, at this time only about 350 of all the hundreds of persons who had
come to the Colony had managed to stay alive and remained here.
Captain George Yeardley was left in charge, seemingly having been
appointed directly by Dale. Under him, it was reported, "the Colony
lived in peace and best plentie that ever it was to that time." He very
probably was glad to see the supply ship that came in October, 1616.
Various kinds of provisions from it were exchanged with the colonists
for their tobacco. It was this ship, too, that brought Abraham Piercey
who, as "cape-merchant," took over the management of the Company's store
But all was not peace. Yeardley had soon to deal with the Chickahominies
who objected to their payment of "tribute corn." This was soon resolved
to the satisfaction of the Governor. Later there was friendly exchange
with the Indians even, it seems, to the extent of training some in the
use of firearms for hunting purposes and "There were divers ... [that]
had savages in like manner for their men." Perhaps, there was too much
familiarity for later well being.
In May, 1618 Argall returned to Virginia as deputy governor in charge.
He seemingly, with "sense and industry," began to renovate the disrepair
he found, particularly at Jamestown. He was the first to prescribe the
limits of Jamestown as well as of "the _corporation_ and _parish_" of
which it was the chief seat. He soon re-established good relations with
Opechancanough now the dominant Indian personality. He was hampered by a
great drought and a severe storm that damaged corn and tobacco, and he
sought to control profit and tobacco prices by proclamation. Moreover,
he was the author of a policy of watchfulness and carefulness in
individual relationships with the Indians.
Eventually, however, Argall was severely criticized and accused of the
misappropriation of Company resources. He was charged, too, with a host
of private wrongs to particular persons, wrongs accompanied by
high-handed actions. Much in disfavor, he slipped away from the Colony a
matter of days before the new Governor, Sir George Yeardley again,
reached Virginia in April, 1619.
It was early in the Yeardley-Argall three year span (1616-19) that a new
form of settlement began to take root in Virginia. This was that of the
particular plantation. No new Company communities had been, or would be,
added to the "four ancient boroughs" ("Incorporations") already
established, yet many would rise as the result of the enterprise,
expenditure, and direction of special ("particular") persons, or groups,
within the Company or having the sanction of it. Such settlements were
known as particular plantations.
Resulting settlements spread east and west along the James and outward
along its rivers and creeks as well. Jamestown lay approximately in the
center of an expanding and growing Colony. It was the center of one of
the four initial Incorporations and it was more. It developed into one
of the original Virginia shires in 1634. This shire, a decade later,
became a county. James City County continues as the oldest governing
unit in English America. Jamestown was its chief seat, Virginia's
capital town and the principal center of the Colony's social and
political life. In size it remained small, yet it was intimately and
directly related to all of the significant developments of Virginia in
There is strong evidence that Jamestown was the first to feel the impact
of the advantages and fruits that growth produced. Material progress is
evident as early as 1619 in the letter of John Pory, Secretary of the
Colony, written from Virginia late in that year:
Nowe that your lordship may knowe, that we are not the veriest
beggars in the worlde, our cowekeeper here of James citty on
Sunday goes accowtered all in freshe flaming silke; and a wife
of one that in England had professed the black arte, not of a
schollar, but of a collier of Croydon, weares her rought
bever hatt with a faire perle hatband, and a silken suite
But it is good to remember, perhaps, that Virginia was still not the
perfect paradise. On March 15, 1619 a letter reaching England reported
sad news and very likely not unusual news--"about 300 of the Inhabitants
... died this last yeare."
A NEW APPROACH
In 1618 there were internal changes and dissensions in the Virginia
Company that led to the resignation of Sir Thomas Smith, as Treasurer,
and to the election of Sir Edwin Sandys as his successor. This roughly
corresponded to changes in Company policy toward the administration of
the Colony and to intensified efforts to develop Virginia. It led to the
abolition of martial law, to the establishment of property ownership, to
greater individual freedom and participation in matters of government
and to the intensification of economic effort. The program was prompted
by a desire to make the Virginia enterprise a financial success, to
increase the population, and to make the Colony attractive as well as to
give the colonists more of a sense of participation.
Sir George Yeardley, recently knighted, returned to Virginia as
Governor, in April 1619, and was the first spokesman in the Colony for
the new policy toward Virginia. In England it had been ably advanced on
behalf of the Colony by Sir Edwin Sandys, the Earl of Southampton, and
John and Nicholas Ferrar.
Land was one of the great sources of wealth in Virginia and soon after
early commercial enterprise failed, was recognized as such. Its
acquisition became a prime objective. Initially the Company had
determined that no land would be assigned to planters, or adventurers,
until the expiration of a seven year period. And this period was in
actual practice delayed. The first real, or general, "division" was
provided for in 1618 and this became effective in Virginia in 1619.
It was recognized that there were several groups meriting land. First
came the Company and its investors. The second was the particular
hundreds and plantations sponsored and belonging to private adventurers
joined in investing groups in England. The third was composed of
individual planters who lived and resided in Virginia. Yeardley came
armed with instructions to effect the division. The boundaries of the
four Incorporations (James City, Charles City, Henrico and Kecoughtan)
were to be fixed and public lands for the support of their officers and
churches were to be set aside as well as tracts for Company officials in
Virginia and others for Company use and profit. The consolidation of all
settlements into the four listed "Cities or Burroughs" was soon
Two classifications of planters were noted--those who came to Virginia
before Dale departed in 1616 and those who came later. The first group,
called "ancient planters," may have been Virginia's first "aristocracy."
Each such person with three years of residence was entitled to 100 acres
as a "first division." Those having come to Virginia after Dale's
departure were in a different position. If they had come, or were to
come, at their own charge they were to obtain only fifty acres at the
"first division." If transported by the Company they were first to serve
as "tenants" on the Company's land for a term of seven years.
All grants it was specified would "be made with equal favour except the
differency of rent." Rent proved to be a diverse term covering tobacco,
capons, merchantable Indian corn and such. Rent payments were a matter
of concern and led the planters in the Assembly of 1619 to petition for
the appointment of an officer in Virginia to receive them. Payment to
the Company in London, in money, was described as impossible.
All tracts, including those allotted prior to the general division, now
would have to be laid off and surveyed. The prescribing of bounds became
a necessity to resolve existing, and to prevent future, uncertainties
and disputes. This was to be the function of William Claiborne,
surveyor-general, who reached Virginia in October, 1621.
Headrights were another matter which entered the picture in these
formative years. This began as a device, a good one it proved to be,
used by the Company to stimulate immigration and settlement in Virginia.
It allowed any person who paid his own way to the Colony to receive
fifty acres for his own "personal adventure." In addition he could
collect fifty acres for each person whose passage he paid. If a person
brought himself and three others, for example, he could claim 200 acres
under this arrangement. This headright system was later adopted in other
colonies and continued in use for generations.
The early success of the land division can be seen, perhaps, in the
report of John Rolfe written in January, 1620:
All the ancient planters being sett free have chosen places
for their dividendes according to the commission, Which giveth
all greate content, for now knowing their owne landes, they
strive and are prepared to build houses & to cleere their
groundes ready to plant, which giveth ... [them] greate
incouragement, and the greatest hope to make the Colony
florrish that ever yet happened to them.
Participation in the affairs of government was another element in the
new Company approach. Soon after his arrival, Yeardley issued a call for
the first representative legislative assembly in America which convened
at Jamestown on July 30, 1619, and remained in session until August 4.
This was the beginning of our present system of representative
government. The full intent behind the moves that led to this historic
meeting may never be known. It seems to have been another manifestation
of the determination to give those Englishmen in America the rights and
privileges of Englishmen at home that had been guaranteed to them in the
original Company charter. It seems to be this rather than a planned
attempt to establish self-government in the New World on a scale that
might have been in violation of English law and custom at the time.
Whatever the motive, the significance of this meeting in the church at
Jamestown remains the same. This body of duly chosen representatives of
the people has continued in existence and its evolution leads directly
to our State legislatures and to the Congress of the United States.
Circumstances seemed to prevent the annual meeting of the Assembly even
though this was initially intended. Possibly, although it is not clear,
the Assembly met in March, 1620. There was a session after the arrival
of Governor Wyatt in October, 1621 although little is known of its
actions. The next session of record was in the late winter of 1624 and
of this some papers have survived. At the time the dissolution of the
Company seemed to be sensed and the Burgesses acted carefully. Much of
the session was devoted to answering questions relative to the state of
the Colony. The Assembly went on record, too, denouncing the so-called
autocratic government that existed in Virginia prior to 1619. There was,
however, refusal to associate its name with an attack on the Company and
it would not send its papers to England by the investigating
commissioners. Instead they were sent by a representative of the
Assembly's choice. The status of the General Assembly under the King,
when Virginia became a royal colony, was, for sometime, undefined and
even its continuation was, perhaps, doubtful. It did, nonetheless,
survive to become a chief instrument of government.
In the social field the Company had recognized that homes, children and
family life make for stability and now steps were taken to do something
about it. To this end, in November 1619, a program was launched to
increase the emigration of women to Virginia. Many had already come to
contribute greatly to the Colony's welfare, the first two in 1608; and
family life was already very much a reality. The male percentage of the
population was, however, still much too high.
The first of the "maids" sent in this new program reached Virginia in
late May and early June, 1620 seemingly to the benefit of both "maids"
and eligible bachelors. In 1621 it was reported that in December the
_Warwick_ arrived with "an extraordinary choice lot [of] thirty-eight
maids for wives."
Earlier, in August 1619, there had been another event, this an unplanned
one, when a group of negroes were brought to the Colony out of the West
Indies and sold from the ship which brought them for "victualls." This
created little attention at the time. Evidently these newcomers found
themselves bound for a time as servants rather than as slaves. The
matter of mass negro slavery with its profitableness in the tobacco
economy was, as yet, decades away. This event of 1619, however, may
properly be noted as the first move in this direction.
Immigration to the Colony continued to increase including even a number
of English youths, and measures were taken to meet the religious and
educational needs of the settlers. This was the period that saw the
attempt to establish a college at Henrico.
The reorganized Virginia Company, following its political changes,
renewed its efforts to expand the Colony and to stimulate profitable
employment. Heavy emphasis was placed on crop diversification and on the
establishment of a number of new industries including forest products,
wine, iron and glass, the latter attempted a second time possibly on
Glasshouse Point just outside of Jamestown Island. The planting of
mulberry trees and the growing of silkworms were advanced by the
dispatch of treatises on silk culture as well as silkworm eggs in a
project in which King James I himself had a personal interest.
The industrial and manufacturing efforts of these years, however, were
not destined to succeed. This condition was not due to any laxity on the
part of George Sandys, resident Treasurer in Virginia, who was something
of an economic on-the-spot supervisor for the Company. Virginia could
not yet support these projects profitably, and interest was lacking on
the part of the planters who found in tobacco a source of wealth
superior to anything else that had been tried. It was the profit from
tobacco that supported the improved living conditions that came
throughout the Colony.
These Englishmen who came to settle in the wilderness retained their
desire for the advantages of life in England. Books, for example, were
highly valued, and with the passage of the years were no uncommon
commodity in Virginia. As early as 1608, Rev. Robert Hunt had a library
at Jamestown, which was consumed by fire in January of that year. Each
new group of colonists seemingly added to the store on hand: _Bibles_,
_Books of Common Prayer_, other religious works, medical and scientific
treatises, legal publications, accounts of gardening, and such. There
was local literary effort, too, such as that by Treasurer George Sandys
who continued his celebrated translation of Ovid's _Metamorphoses_ in
the house of William Pierce at Jamestown.
YEARDLEY AND WYATT
Yeardley, having instituted the measures of the "Greate Charter,"
continued to serve as Governor until November 18, 1621. His was a good
administration, yet it was not without criticism. There was some
unfavorable comment on his negotiations relative to Indian lands as well
as in the arrangement of various government fees. With so many personal
and private interests in so many of the individual settlements, it is
remarkable that he did not get into difficulties of a more serious
nature. Even when Sir Francis Wyatt relieved him as governor, he
continued on as a Councilor and was later to be Governor again. He had
been at the helm when Virginia enjoyed, perhaps, its best three years to
His successor, Wyatt, proved as popular and even survived the
dissolution of the Company. Wyatt, as others before and others to
follow, found the governorship to be expensive. It is reported that he
spent L1,000 in less than two years. Both Yeardley and Wyatt resided at
Jamestown from which, for the most part, they directed Colony affairs.
Here they maintained a most impressive establishment with their wives,
children and indentured servants including some of the negroes now
resident in the Colony.
It is in the 1619 to 1624 period that the first clear picture of at
least a part of the physical town of Jamestown emerges, for this period
corresponds with the earliest known property records that exist. The
town had outgrown the original fort in some years past and now appeared
as a fairly flourishing settlement. The records reveal that many of the
property owners were yeomen, merchants, carpenters, hog-raisers,
farmers, joiners, shopkeepers, and ordinary "fellows," as well as
colonial officials. The "New Town" section of James City developed in
this period as the old section proved too small and the residents began
to build more substantial houses, principally frame on brick
foundations. Even so, the town was far from that of a city, perhaps,
only a village at best. It was, nonetheless, as close to a hub of
political, social, and economic life as completely rural Virginia had.
It was the Colony's capital in every sense.
The population figures taken in these years give a good idea of the size
of Jamestown in this period. In February 1624, it is recorded that 183
persons were living in Jamestown and 35 others on the Island outside of
the town proper. These are listed by name, as are the 87 who had died
between April 1623 and the following February. In the "census" of
January 1625 there was a total of 124 residents listed for "James Citty"
and an additional 51 for the Island. The over-all total of 175 included
some 122 males and 53 females.
Aside from the population statistics, the musters of January 1625 give
much more information. Jamestown had a church, a court-of-guard
(guardhouse), 3 stores (probably storehouses), a merchant's store, and
33 houses. Ten of the Colony's 40 boats were here, including a skiff, a
"shallop" of 4 tons, and a "barque" of 40 tons. There were stores of
fish, 24,880 pounds to be exact, corn, peas, and meal. There were four
pieces of ordnance, supplies of powder, shot and lead, and, for
individual use, "fixt peeces," snaphances, pistols, seventy swords,
coats of mail, quilted coats, and thirty-five suits of armor. The bulk
of the Colony's livestock seems to have been localized in the Jamestown
area, about half (183) of the cattle, a little more than half (265) of
the hogs, and well over half (126) of the goats. The one horse listed
for the Colony was shown to have been at Jamestown, but in this category
the "census" must have been deficient. Even in 1616 there had been 3
horses and 3 mares.
The massacre and its aftermath and the investigation and dissolution of
the Company dominated the Virginia scene in Wyatt's first three year
term as Governor. These things should not, perhaps, becloud the
continued expansion and growth of the Colony that resumed after the
fateful year of 1622 when the massacre was followed, in the summer, with
disease along the James and then by the more specific plague.
It was on March 22, 1622 that the great catastrophe struck Virginia in
the form of the well planned and carefully executed massacre by the
Indians under the crafty leadership of Opechancanough, successor to
Powhatan. Although the consequences were not enough to threaten the
survival of the Colony, they were deeply serious. At least a fourth, if
not a third, of all residents lay dead at the end of a single day. Many
plantations were abandoned and safety and security became the principal
order of the day. It spelled the end of numerous projects such as the
production of iron and of enterprises such as the attempt to found a
college. Jamestown, given timely warning because of the loyalty of an
Indian, Chanco, to his master, saw no damage. In this respect it was one
of only a few such areas. It did, however, see some resulting congestion
as survivors came in from distant, and even nearby, communities.
Regrouping, reorganization and revenge followed after the initial shock
was over. Punishment of the Indians occupied the center of the stage for
months. In January, 1623, however, the Governor and his Council could
report in answer to Company inquiries, some of which were critical of
Colony operations, that "We have anticipated your desires by settinge
uppon the Indians in all places." Directed by the Governor from
Jamestown, George Sandys, Sir George Yeardley, Capt. John West, Capt.
William Powell and others led expeditions against the various native
tribes. "In all which places we have slaine divers, burnte theire
townes, destroyde theire wears [weirs] & corne." The seizure of
considerable additional mature corn, likewise, was a blow to the Indian
and a help to the English. The Indian had been brought to heel, yet he
was still not impotent, a fact that the colonists now well recognized
and of which they had occasional reminder as when Capt. Henry Spelman
and his party were slain in April, 1623.
VIRGINIA AND THE DISSOLUTION
The Virginia Company established the first permanent English settlement
in America, but did not reap the profits that it had expected. Even
through reorganization and large expenditures, it never achieved its
full objective and was increasingly subject to criticism despite its
remarkable achievement. The devastating effect of the massacre ushered
in a period of attack that never subsided. Commissioners were sent to
investigate the Colony at first hand. Charge was met by countercharge
and tempers rose high. The Company stubbornly contended for its original
charters and James I and Company opponents seemed equally as determined
to break them. Matters reached a head in 1624 when James I dissolved the
Company, thereby removing the hand that had guided Virginia affairs for
With this act Virginia became a royal colony and continued as such until
the American Revolution made it free and independent. From the point of
view of the people in the Colony, the change from Company to Crown was
almost painless although there was concern over land titles and a
continuance of the Assembly. The Company Governor gave way to the royal
appointee, but most institutions were left intact. Perhaps a glance at
the proceedings of the Assembly of March, 1624 is useful in pointing up
the matters of concern to the representatives of the people at this
At the time Virginia was a going concern. It was well established,
economically sound, and expanding at a considerable rate. The business
at this session embraced some 35 laws, or acts. Of this total 7 dealt
with the economic situation, 8 with Indian affairs and security, 8 with
religious matters, 6 with local organization and welfare and 5 with
matters of personal and community rights. In the main they suggest
growth and an established order.
In the economic sphere there was concern for the planting of ample corn,
emphasis on fencing and planting "vines, hearbs, rootes, &c." Commodity
rates were in need of further enforcement. It was duly ordered, too,
that there would be "no waightes nor measures used, but such as shalbe
Sealed by officers Appointed for that purpose."
In matters of safety the chief concern was still the Indian. Trading for
corn with the natives was to be prohibited. It was required that "every
dwellinge howse shalbe pallizadoed," that guards be maintained and that
careful and constant inspection by commanders insure working and ready
arms and ammunition. Good watch was to be maintained even when at work
in the fields and powder was not to be wasted "unnecessarily in drinking
or entertainementes." It was determined that in midsummer the people of
"every corporatione" should fall on the Indians near them "as we did the
last yeere" presumably to burn their crops and houses.
Church affairs came in for considerable regulation. One act required
that a place be set aside for the worship of God in each and every
plantation, a place or "roome sequestred for that purpose" as well as "a
place sequestred onlye to the buryall of the dead." A fine, one pound
of tobacco for one Sunday but fifty pounds for a month of absences, was
imposed for missing the Sunday service. Ministers were exhorted to look
after their charges and the people were not to "disparage" their
ministers without "sufficient proofe." Payment of the minister's salary
was to be insured and there were regulations against "swearinge and
drunkennes." A formal order was passed that March 22, the date of the
massacre of two years before, be "solemnized as [a] hollidaye." In
matters of church conformity the action was specific, "That there be an
uniformitie in our Church as neere as may be, to the canons in Englande
both in [substance] and circumstance and that all persons yeeld redie
obedience unto them under pain of censure."
Government organization and operation was spelled out in a number of
instances. To meet the needs of a growing and spreading population
special courts were set up for Elizabeth City and Charles City. At least
in cases involving no more than 100 pounds of tobacco and for petty
offences, it would not be necessary to journey to Jamestown. It was
further ordered that all private holdings be duly surveyed, bounded, and
recorded. A public "grainary" was ordered to be established in each
parish. Control of trade was sought by specifying that no ships should
"break boulke [bulk] or make privatt sales of any comodities" before
reaching Jamestown. Taxes were not ignored either for a levy of ten
pounds of tobacco, already the common currency it appears, was laid on
each male above 16 years of age to help defray the "publique depte
[debt]." Lest it be forgotten, it was enacted that obedience was
required "to the presente government."
Old planters were given special exemption from public service, "they and
theire posteritie," while Burgesses were rendered exempt from seizure
during Assembly time. "Persones of qualitie" when found delinquent, it
was stated, could be imprisoned if not fit to take corporal punishment.
It is of note that service to the Governor, or the public, was made
contingent on Assembly consent. Of particular interest, too, was the
action on the principle of taxation. It was bold, indeed, at this time
for the Assembly to declare that;
The Governor shall not laye any taxes or impositiones uppon
the Colony, theire landes or comodities otherwi[se] then by
the awthoritie of the Generall Assemblie, to be levied and
imployed as the saide Assembly shall appoint.
This was an early word on taxation, but it was to be far from the last
word in the next century and a half.
[Illustration: Towns, Plantations, Settlements and Communities in
Virginia: 1607-1624. (The sites of Richmond, Williamsburg and Norfolk
are shown but the cities did not exist at the time.)]
THE SPREAD OF SETTLEMENT--1607 TO 1624
By 1624 the Colony had grown from a single settlement at Jamestown to a
series of communities along the James River and on the Eastern Shore.
Until 1611 only Jamestown had proven lasting. In this fourth year,
however, Kecoughtan (Elizabeth City) was established on a permanent
basis and Henrico was laid out. In 1613 the fourth of the Company
settlements was established at Bermuda which was to become Charles City.
For five years the center of population passed up river. The area in the
"Curls" of the James for a time was the preferred location. It looked as
if even the seat of government would be moved here where much official
business was transacted. In 1616 John Rolfe listed 6 settlements and
according to his report, some 68 per cent of the residents were in the
Decline set in, in the upriver settlements, however, and the focus
returned again to the Jamestown area, aided, it seems, by the efforts of
Governor Samuel Argall. It was this 1617-19 period, too, that saw the
beginning of particular plantations which did much to populate the James
River basin as far as the falls. In 1619 at the time of the Assembly
meeting, there were eleven localities, or communities, that sent
representatives to Jamestown. Plantations continued to multiply until
the destruction of the massacre temporarily rolled back the number. For
a time the settlements were reduced to, perhaps, a dozen. Even the
massacre, however, could not long hold back what was becoming a tide.
The reoccupation of abandoned areas and the utilization of new land was
quickly the order of the day. In 1625 a total of 27 areas or communities
were reported. In this surge of expansion the center of population now
passed again from Jamestown and rested in the lower areas of the James.
In 1624 and 1625 Elizabeth City was indeed Virginia's most populous
community. In fact, early in 1625 the Elizabeth City group (Kecoughtan,
Buckroe, Newport News, etc.) had a greater population than did all of
the plantations above Jamestown. At this point "James Citty" and the
Island stood second with a population of 175 while Elizabeth City alone
had about 350.
The story of Virginia's first seventeen years was written all along the
banks of the James and much of it in the towns, forts, and plantations
that grew here. Each of them has an individual story and together they
give much of the story of Virginia's early years.
PASBEHEGH COUNTRY (1)
The country westward from Jamestown Island along the north shore of the
James River as far as the Chickahominy River was known early as
Pasbehegh Country from the Indians which inhabited there. Jamestown, as
a matter of fact, was considered to have been established in Pasbehegh
territory. This area began to feature in the immediate history of
Virginia when, in 1608, the colonists elected to build their glass
furnaces on the mainland at the top of the isthmus leading to the
Island. This, although an unsuccessful enterprise, functioned for a time
and people were in residence here. When the enterprise was revived about
1620 the same site, it is thought, was again used. In 1624 it is
reported that five persons were then living at the "glase house."
Presumably these were associated with the glass project.
The settlement of the general area is not clear as to date. It is stated
that Sir Thomas Dale granted "some small parcells" in Pasbehegh,
perhaps, as early as 1614. These probably were immediately seated and
planted. Samuel Argall returned to Virginia, which he had served well in
the 1609-14 days, as governor in 1617. He, likewise, is credited with
having granted "some small parcells" here. Argall, too, is identified
with the creation of a distinct settlement in the area, one that, for a
time, bore his name. This was Argall's Guift, more often mentioned as
ARGALL TOWN (1A)
Samuel Argall, it seems, was attracted to the area west of Jamestown and
established his people here. He and his associates had been assigned
2,400 acres for the transportation of 24 persons by Charter of March 30,
1617 issued just before he left England. This was one of the first such
grants. There were settlers with him, too, to be employed on land set
aside for the support of the Governor's office. Evidently his
settlement, or plantation, got underway in 1617 and two years later was
listed among the populated areas in the Colony. It was one of the eleven
communities which sent representatives to the First Assembly in 1619.
They were Thomas Pawlett and Edward Gourgaing.
To advance the settlement, Argall had contracted for the clearing of
some 300 acres of ground (600 pounds sterling it was to cost). This was
to be done by colonists assigned to Martin's Hundred. Other arrangements
were made with Captain William Powell to clear ground and to erect a
house, this to cost L50. This was the Powell whom Argall made the
Captain of the Governor's Company and Guard, Lieutenant Governor and
Commander of Jamestown, the blockhouses and the people. Evidently Argall
and Powell intended to pass on this cost to the "Inhabitants of
Paspaheigh, alias Argall's towne" for these people sought "an absolute
discharge from certain bondes wherein they stood bound to Captain
Samuell Argall for the payment of 600 lb and to Captain William Powell,
at Captaine Argall's appointment, for the payment of 50 lb more. To
Captaine Argall for 15 skore acres of wooddy ground, called by the name
of Argal's towne or Paspaheigh; to Captain Powell in respect of his
paines in clearing the grounde and building the houses, for which
Captaine Argal ought to have given him satisfaction."
Seemingly the accommodations which resulted were good ones for when, in
1619, some newly arrived Martin's Hundred people were seated here, there
was good and convenient housing which enabled them to do the "best of
all new-comers." They reaped better crops and the list of those who died
was "not comparable to other places." Argall Town, however, was not
destined to become a settled community. It was on the Governor's land
and Yeardley proceeded after his arrival in 1619 to take a "petty rente"
from the settlers here "to make them acknowledge ... that Paspaheigho by
expresse wordes in the greate commission did belonge to the Governor and
that they had bene wrongfully seated by Capt. Argall upon that lande."
PASBEHEGH (PASPAHEGH) AND "THE MAINE" (1B-C)
With Yeardley's arrival steps were taken to lay out the 3,000 acres set
aside for the Governor's office. This was specified to be on the land
"formerly conquered or purchased from the Paspahegh Indians" and
included Argall Town. It seemingly was directly east of another 3,000
acres of Company land set aside for the profit of the Company. The
Company tract adjoined the Chickahominy River. Both the Company and
Governor's land was to be tilled chiefly by tenants. The exact bounds of
Pasbehegh, even with these specifications, is difficult to fix. Even
landownership in the period prior to 1625 is difficult to define. It
seems fairly evident that two communities developed in the area between
Powhatan Creek and the Chickahominy, that closest to Jamestown being
"the Maine" (mainland). There are references, however, that clearly
indicated that both were collectively referred to on occasion as
Pasbehegh, as when in 1621 there is mention of the "Subberbs of James
Cittie called by the name of Paspehayes," and on occasion as "the Main"
as in the listing of residents in 1624. On the other hand, other
references are equally as suggestive of two communities. There is
separate mention as early as 1619 and a clear differentiation in the
census of 1625.
In 1625 there were some 43 people at Pasbehegh including 10 of the
Governor's men. Among the total were 7 wives and 3 children. Seemingly
the decision to hold this area after the massacre, "James Cittie with
Paspehay," took the families back to the land. The settlement, in 1625,
seemed well stocked with arms but had no livestock.
Nearby in "the Maine" lived an additional 36 persons of which the
largest single muster was that of Thomas Bunn with his wife, son, a maid
and four other servants. It was somewhat less well equipped in arms than
its neighbor although in most categories it was comparable. Only 3
houses were enumerated yet this was 2 more than given for Pasbehegh.
Perhaps, living conditions were deteriorating.
It may be significant that the General Court in January, 1626,
reiterated the permission given "to the inhabitants of Pasbehaye to
remove themselves from that place." No restraint would be placed on them
"nor any other the inhabitants of the Maine to stay and inhabit there."
Perhaps, the insecurity of being on the "Governor's Land" was one reason
that these "free men" could, and wanted to, leave. The reasons offered,
however, were "the barreness of the ground whereon they plant," "the
badness of their utterly decayed houses" and "their small strength &
ability to hold & defend the same place."
SMITH'S (SOUTHAMPTON) HUNDRED (2)
This, along with Martin's Hundred and Argall's settlement, was among the
first particular plantations to be established in Virginia and was
founded and promoted by the "Society of Smyth's Hundred." It took its
name from Sir Thomas Smith who was treasurer of the Virginia Company and
a heavy investor. When he sold his interest in 1620 to his successor,
the Earl of Southampton, the designation was changed from Smith's to
Southampton Hundred. The initial grant was for some 80,000 acres and it
was located on the north shore of the James between the Chickahominy
River and the Weyanoke territory.
The first settlers to come over in the venture appear to have arrived in
the ship _George_ in 1617. In 1618 it was planned to send another 35 and
supplies were arranged including "Tooles for a brickyard" and "A mill to
grind" tools. The items enumerated can be found in the _Records of the
Virginia Company of London_ in Volume III, pages 95-96. From a good
start it seemingly became, for a time, the leading plantation on the
James. When Yeardley arrived as Governor he became interested in this
project in which he obviously had a financial stake at least to the
extent of bringing "out of England at my chardge 25 men this year 
to furnish Smyth hundred...." Yeardley wrote on April 29, 1619, that the
plantation was "alltogether destitute of cowes." He asked that more be
sent and that authority be sought to purchase as they were available. He
hoped to get in the Colony "as many as will sett up 3 ploughs at Smythes
Hundred, for we have there great store of good cleered grounds." He was
disappointed in not having a good tobacco crop but drought and other
things had prevented it. "I cannot expect much tobako our cheifest care
must be for corne."
When representatives were chosen for the Assembly in 1619, Capt. Thomas
Graves and Walter Shelley went up to Jamestown from Smith's Hundred.
Already a church had been founded here. It was St. Marys Church to which
Mary Robinson was a benefactor having made possible a communion cup, a
plate, a carpet, an altar cloth, "one surplisse" and other ornaments and
hangings to the value of twenty pounds. The Society of Smith's Hundred
became interested, too, in the rearing of Indian children in the
Christian way when another benefactor assured financial support. It was
agreed that arrangements would be found for all not accommodated at
Berkeley and Martin's hundreds and elsewhere. This particular plantation
was among those to be encouraged by Company and Colony. Products they
reaped could be returned to their own adventurers.
Yeardley continued for some time as commander of the hundred. He held
court, made land grants, and conducted other Colony business here,
perhaps, in "the now mansion house of mee the said George Yeardley in
Southampton Hundred." In January, 1620, he advised "not onely the
Adventurers for Smythes hundred, but the generall Company also, to send
hither husbandmen truly bred (whereof here is a great scarcity, or none
at all) both to manage the plough and breake our oxen and horses to that
busines." In the same period John Rolfe wrote that the Smith's Hundred
people had seen much sickness even though they were seated "at Dauncing
Point, the most convenyent place within their lymittes." For this reason
"no matter of gaine or greate industry can be expected from them." On
the matter of sickness George Thorpe wrote from Southampton Hundred on
December 19, 1620 that Virginia was healthy and that he was "perswaded
that more doe die here of the disease of theire minde then of theire
body by havinge this countrey victualles overpraised unto them in
England & by not knowinge they shall drinke water here." He added
hopefully, perhaps, that "wee have found a waie to make soe good drinke
of Indian corne," that he often preferred it to "good stronge Englishe
Society expenditures continued as forty-two more colonists were sent, of
which five died en route in August 1619. Supplies were dispatched,
including "English meale" and equipment furnished. The latter, early in
1620, included forty swords and thirty-three suits of armor plus two
more "better then ordinary" totaling thirty-two pounds in cost.
The two Smith's Hundred ventures into iron production failed for the
same reason that the College project failed. The men "were not able to
mannage an iron worke and soe turned good honest tobaccoe mongers." The
results of their fishing "in the North Colony," for which they had
special "lycence," are less clear. The plantation did have its own
shipping. Again, this time early in 1622, they were called on to
undertake the education and rearing of some 30 of the "infidelles
children," "Children of the Virginians."
The massacre appears to have been the blow that ended the promising
hopes of Smith's Hundred. Only 5 persons were slain here but the effects
were more far reaching. It was to be one of the settlements to be held
and well fortified. In June, 1622, it was reported that "the inhabitants
of Southampton Hundred since the late bloudy murthering of [the] nation
by the Indians, hath been often infested by them & still is above other
plantations wherby they are not onlie putt from planting corne, tobacco,
& other nessarie employmentes wherby they might be able to subsist, but
also have no corne for the present to maintaine life."
It would appear that the plantation was abandoned and that its survivors
may have been relocated at Hog Island where the adventurers had an
interest. This was an unfruitful end after the expenditure of some 6,000
pounds sterling. The net result in 1625 was some cattle, "land belonging
to Southampton Hundred containeing 100000 acres" and a tract with some
tenants on it at Hog Island.
"TANKS WEYANOKE" (3)
About midway along the north shore of the James River between the
Chickahominy and Appomattox Rivers is a projection of land that forces a
wide sharp turn in the James. The Indians called this Tanks (little)
Weyanoke, a place where the river goes around the land. This was
separate, and distinct, from Great Weyanoke which lay along the south
side of the James toward the Appomattox. The Weyanoke Indian tribe
inhabited both areas, yet their chief town was on the south side.
In 1617 the Indian chieftain Opechancanough, who later would master mind
the massacre, presented Sir George Yeardley with a sizeable tract here
later described as 2,200 acres. On November 18, 1618, in his
instructions, the Company confirmed the Indian grant to Yeardley "in
consideration of the long and good and faithful service done by ...
[him] in our said Colony and plantation of Virginia." Two hundred acres
were allowed for two shares of stock and 2,000 were allowed for services
rendered. Bounds for "Weyanoke," and for adjacent "Konwan" which was
also included, were described and it was declared to be in "the
territory of the said Charles City."
This was but one of Yeardley's developed properties. He, it seems, put
men to work here and sought to open it up and make it profitable.
Presumably this was after 1619 yet before 1622. It was mentioned in
April, 1619 as a plantation begun in the period beginning in 1617. It
seems significant, however, that it had no representation in the
Assembly of 1619 unless it be assumed that the Smith's Hundred
representatives spoke for it or unless it was grouped with Yeardley's
Flowerdieu Hundred across the river.
At the time of the massacre "At Weynoack of Sir George Yeardly his
people" some 21, one of whom was Margery Blewet a woman, were slain.
With this, the plantation was abandoned and there seems no record of its
immediate reoccupation. There is no reason to think that it was ever
declared to be a part of Smith's Hundred to the east although Yeardley
was fearful of it at one point due principally to the activity of Samuel
Argall. The only entry in the land grants list of 1625 is "Tancks
Wayonoke over against Perceys Hundred, 2,000 acres." By this date
Yeardley had disposed of it through sale to Capt. Abraham Piercey who,
also, had purchased Flowerdieu (Piercey's) Hundred.
George Swinhow was an "Adventurer to Virginia" about 1618 to the extent
of L37 10s. By 1620 this had increased to L62 10s, and included
provisions to the extent of 2 hogsheads and a half ton. He, himself,
came to Virginia in the _Diana_ and seems to have settled a plantation
on the north side of the James in the vicinity of Weyanoke and Westover.
This was prior to 1622. When the massacre came on March 22 it left 7
dead "at Mr. Swinhowe his house," Mrs. Swinhow, 2 sons, and 4 others.
There is no record that he returned to his 300 acres in the Corporation
of Charles City. In 1625 he was a resident of "the Maine" near Jamestown
where he had but one servant with him. Evidently he was a tobacco
planter, for when he died, a year later, he left "a hundred gilders
which was ten pounde sterlinge for to make the most of his tobacco."
It appears to have been in the summer of 1619 that Captain Francis West
laid out the site of Westover plantation. This was done on the strength
of fixing the grant of land in Virginia due Henry, the fourth Lord De La
Warr--son and heir of Governor De La Warr who served the Colony for many
years. There was some delay, however, in getting a duly authorized
patent. On January 10, 1620, when Yeardley wrote of seating the Berkeley
Hundred people, he appeared to be concerned lest he be accused of
infringing on the West claim. He pointed out that the new settlement was
more up river--"more towardes West and Sherley Hundred, and towardes
Charles Citty." He went further and stated that West, before his
departure for England, did not obtain "any grante" from him as Governor
and consequently the bounds of what he did lay out were not known
There is scanty information relative to the development of Westover. At
the time of the Indian massacre, however, it is clear that three Wests,
Captain Francis, Captain Nathaniel, and Mr. John, all brothers and each
at one time governor of Virginia, were established here. Two persons
were killed at each of their plantations, "at Westover, about a mile
from Berkley Hundred." In the Assembly of 1624 Westover sent its
representative to the Assembly at Jamestown in the person of Samuel
Sharpe. This being the case, it is difficult to explain the absence of
the plantation from the list of 1624 and the muster of 1625. In the May,
1625 land tabulation, there is a single entry which reads "Att Westover
500 acres claymed by Captaine Francis West." From later events it would
appear that the plantation had a continuous history with, perhaps, a
small break caused by the massacre.
BERKELEY TOWN AND HUNDRED (6)
In February, 1619, the Virginia Company granted the authority to
establish a "particular plantation" in Virginia to a group composed of
Richard Berkeley, Sir William Throckmorton, Sir George Yeardley, George
Thorpe and John Smyth of Nibley. The initial move toward settlement
appears to have been made in the following summer when a ship, the
_Margaret_, was fitted out and dispatched with emigrants and supplies.
The 35, whose names are known, reached Virginia and on November 30,
Ferdinando Yate, one of the group who chronicled the voyage, reported
that "in the evening god bethanked we came to anker at Necketan
[Kecoughtan] in a good harbore."
It was a little later that the site of the settlement was selected on
the north side of the James. Reputed to contain 8,000 acres and 12-1/2
square miles, it was above Westover and "more towards West and Sherley
Hundred, and towards Charles Citty." Yeardley elected to describe it
thus to emphasize that it did not conflict with any claims of the Wests
at Westover. Yate concluded his journal relating "we are well settled in
good land by the means of the Governor of this cuntrie." He noted, too,
that "our house is built with a stoore convenient." "The people were
then following daiely husbantrie, sum to clering ground for corn and
tobacko, sum to building houses, sum to plant vines and mulberie trees."
A number of the papers concerned with the initial establishment of
Berkeley Hundred survive and at least give an insight into what was
intended. The undertaking was expected to reflect "to the honor of
allmighty god, the inlargeinge of Christian religion and to the
augmentation and renowne of the generall plantation in that cuntry, and
the particular good and profit of ourselves, men and servants, as wee
hope." There was a very special instruction, perhaps, of some unusual
note: "wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place
assigned for plantation in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and
perputualy keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty god." Was
this the first specific Thanksgiving Day in America?
Capt. John Woodleefe was named, and sent, as governor or commander of
the new plantation. He, a man of some years of experience in Virginia
affairs, was cautioned to keep his and Berkeley Hundred affairs separate
and not to seat his own people "unles full ten English miles from ..."
Berkeley. Specific orders were given him relative to building houses
which should be "homelike" and "covered with boardes," some "framed" and
to enclosing 400 acres "with a strong pale of seaven foote and halfe
highe." Religious conformity and practice was stressed. All was to be
"observed and kept, according as it is used in the Church of England."
There was soon a change in direction as a new charter placed the
management of affairs in Virginia directly in the hands of George Thorpe
and of William Tracy who was assigned Throckmorton's interest in the
project. Thorpe left for the Colony in the spring of 1620 and with him
went 3 men and "six kyne." A larger reinforcement accompanied Tracy. It
included 50 persons who left England in the fall of 1620 reaching
Virginia on January 29, 1621. Tracy wrote in September that he had in
his Company "4 maid servants 3 maried wives & 2 young children my wife
and daughter & son." The full list of supplies that came at this time is
preserved (_Records of the Virginia Company of London_, III, 385-393)
and tells much of life and conditions in Virginia. It included 2
grindstones, 2 mill stones, garden seeds: parsnips, carrot, cabbage,
turnip, lettuce, onion, mustard and garlic; books on "husbandry &
huswifry;" 22,500 "nayles of severall sorts;" and "sives to make
gunpowder in Virginia." (_See the Appendix._)
Things were well advanced when the massacre hit Berkeley Hundred. Eleven
were killed here including Capt. George Thorpe "one of his Majesties
pensioners." Then came abandonment from which no clearcut survival seems
to have been achieved. In the spring of 1622 those who "remayneth" must
have been relocated. Four persons sent from England "before the news of
the massacre was heard" arrived in June and there is mention of others
going for Berkeley in August. In July, 1623 John Smith promised to
supply "my servants now living in Virginia in Berckley Hundreth" and
others at least to the extent of L100. Two months later the _Bonny Bess_
is reported to have brought people and supplies for Berkeley in its
In January, 1624, it was reported that 16 men, all of whom are named,
were "planted at Sherley Hundred for Barkley Hundred Company." This
indicates that the settlement at Berkeley had not yet been reactivated.
Further indication is found in the assignment of Richard Milton of
"Shirley Hundred" to look after the "Barkley Hundred" cattle for which
he would get 50 pounds of tobacco and "the milke of the said Kyne."
Perhaps these are the same cattle which had been taken to Jordan's
Journey, by overseer Kemish, just after the massacre. There is no
mention of Berkeley in the list of 1624, or in the muster of 1625.
CAUSEY'S CARE (OR "CLEARE") (7)
Nathaniel Causey was an old soldier who came to Virginia in the First
Supply early in 1608. It was on December 10, 1620 that he obtained a
grant that he began to develop as a private plantation. This appears to
have been located just to the east of West and Shirley Hundred on the
north side of the James. If we accept the entry in the land list of May,
1625 this was for some 200 acres. Presumably he and his wife, Thomasine,
also an "old planter" who had come to the Colony in 1609, lived here, at
least for a time, perhaps, with servants which numbered 5 in 1625.
In the massacre Causey "being cruelly wounded, and the salvages about
him, with an axe did cleave one of their heads, whereby the rest fled
and he escaped." In 1624 Causey, who sat in the Assembly, is thought to
have represented Jordan's Journey where he is listed as in residence
that same year and again in 1625. He was among the 31 who signed the
Assembly's reply to the declaration of charges against the Smith
administration of the Colony made by Alderman Johnson and others. His
plantation, Causey's Care, across the river from Jordan's Journey,
continued, it seems, and for years was a landmark of the vicinity.
Causey appears occasionally in the court records as when on May 23,
1625, he assumed a debt and obligation to "Doctor Pott" which required
the delivery of "one barrel of Indian corne" to "James Cittie at the
first cominge downe of the next boate."
WEST AND SHIRLEY HUNDRED (8)
This plantation, or hundred, on the north side of the James across from
the mouth of the Appomattox River first comes into view as one of the
areas in the Bermuda Incorporation established by Dale. Settlement is
thought to date from 1613. As time passed it appears to have developed
with less restrictive ties to Bermuda City than the hundreds adjoining
it on the south side of the river. There is little to indicate that
Bermuda Hundreds' claim on it in 1617 was ever seriously considered.
There is a glimpse of life here in Ralph Hamor's, _A True Discourse of
the Present Estate of Virginia_: "At West and Sherley Hundred, (seated
on the North side the river lower then the Bermuda 3 or 4 myles) are 25
commaunded by Captaine [Isaac] Maddeson who are imployed only in
planting and curing tobacco, with the profitt thereof to cloth
themselves, and all those who labor about the generall busynes." As such
it was one of 6 settlements in Virginia, fourth in point of population.
It continued to develop as a rather important community. Even though not
listed as sending representatives to Jamestown in 1619, it probably
shared the services of the Burgesses entered from Charles City. It was
listed as an established settlement when Argall left the Colony in
April, 1619. Its name in the first decade fluctuated considerably first
appearing as "Wests Sherly Hundred" then becoming "West and Sherly" and
then Sherley (or Shirley).
The list of those killed in the massacre has no entry specifically
labeled for this plantation indicating, perhaps, that the effect here
was light. This may explain why it was one of the few points designated
to be held after March 22, 1622, much the most interior, or westward
point on the north side of the James. In 1624 "West and Sherlow Hundred"
had its own Burgesses in the Assembly in the persons of Isaac Madison
and Richard Biggs. In 1623 a special appointment had been made to
Grivell Pooley, to make a special levy at "Sherley Hundred" and adjacent
plantations. This, being 10 pounds of tobacco and 1 bushel of corn "for
every planter and tradesman above the age of sixteene yeares alive at
the cropp" time, was to meet the Corporation's yearly minister's salary
and to aid in "publique charges."
In 1624 a total of 69 inhabitants were listed for Shirley Hundred, 45 in
the Hundred and 24 "at West and Sherlow hundred Island." Perhaps this
included the 16 persons who had been "planted at Sherley Hundred for
Barkley Hundred Company." A year later the population stood at 61 with
the decrease evidently all registered at the "Island." At this time
there were 17 houses, 2 boats and ample corn and fish and some peas.
There were 21 head of cattle, 24 hogs and 263 items of poultry. Small
arms (47) and armor (31) seemed adequate although Indians still
infested the place and occasionally a man was killed. Land grants listed
in May, 1625 totaled 36 (4,410 acres) but of these only 8 (1,150 acres)
were given as "planted." The majority of the holdings were 100 acres or
less and there were 3,000 acres of Company land below "Sherley Hundred
UPPER HUNDRED--"CURLS" (9)
This area, on the north side of the James below Henrico and across from
Bermuda (Nether) Hundred, was one of the several hundreds annexed to, or
included in, the corporation of Bermuda City. Settlement seems to have
begun in 1613 although little is known of events in the early years.
"Curls" evidently was a name suggested by the course of the river here.
The reported patent for 400 acres to Edward Gurgany in October, 1617 has
been assumed to have been in this area. In 1619 Gurgany's widow
bequeathed the tract to Capt. Thomas Harris. Progress in the occupation
and use of the ground was severely checked by the massacre.
"DIGGS HIS HUNDRED" (10)
This was a plantation, one of several, that Dale annexed to the new
Bermuda City incorporation in 1613. In this it was similar to Bermuda
Upper Hundred being on the north side of the river and adjoining it,
perhaps, on the west. Neither of these hundreds seems to have had the
closely integrated relationship with Bermuda City that the Bermuda
Nether and Rochdale hundreds had. Settlement, however, seems to date
from this early period even though little is known of it. An assignment
of 100 acres of land to Samuel Jordan in July, 1622 clearly establishes
that there was continuing activity at Diggs. This tract in "Diggs His
Hundred" had earlier been owned by one Mary Tue. This transaction,
shortly after the massacre certainly demonstrates that, although the
Indian slaughter caused evacuation here, interest in reoccupation
THE "CITTY OF HENRICUS" (HENRICO) (11)
In the late summer of 1611 Sir Thomas Dale departed Jamestown with a
strong force of 300 men to proceed up river to establish a new
settlement. It was expected that it would become the chief seat in the
Colony. It would be further removed from the Spanish fear and threat, it
would be more healthful, and it could be made more defensible against
The Company and many of the settlers were dissatisfied with the
Jamestown location. Dale had begun to push this project soon after his
arrival in the Colony in May, 1611. He was acting on conviction and on
Company instructions. Seemingly the name of the new town had already
been chosen. It was to be Henrico in honor of Henry, Prince of Wales,
known too as the protector and patron of Virginia. He had explored and
found the site he liked, "a convenient strong, healthie and sweete seate
to plant a new Towne in." Already at Jamestown he had prepared "pales,
posts and railes to impaile his proposed new Towne."
Marshal Dale, leaving Governor Gates at Jamestown, proceeded upstream by
boat while the larger part of his party went overland led by Capt.
Edward Brewster. The latter encountered resistance from the Indians
particularly at the hand of "Munetute" ("called amongste us Jacke of the
feathers"). Dale and Brewster rendezvoused at the appointed place and
"after divers encounter and skirmishes with the salvages gained a
convenientt place for fortification where presently they did begin to
builde a foarte." The Indians continued to protest this invasion of
their territory with the most effective means at hand. The site selected
was a peninsula that jutted into the James from the north side some few
miles below the Arrahatock village.
Within 15 days Dale had impaled 7 acres of ground and then set to work
to build at each of the 5 corners of the town "very strong and high
commanders or watchtowers, a faire and handsome Church, and
storehouses." It was not until then that he turned to the matter of
houses and lodgings for "himself and men." Two miles inland he built a
strong pale some 2 miles in length which ran from river to river making
an island of the neck on which Henrico stood. Presumably this palisade
faced a ditch hence the term--"trench and pallizado." Hamor related in
1614 that in 4 months he had made Henrico "much better and of more worth
then all the work ever since the Colonie began."
His achievements were not come by easily. It was costly in life and in
loss of personal freedoms. It was achieved with the full enforcement of
the now famous "Dale laws." He moved quickly to punish deserters and law
breakers. George Percy related the results in graphic terms. Some "in a
moste severe manner [he] cawsed to be executed. Some he appointed to be
hanged, some burned, some to be broken upon wheles, others to be staked
and some to be shott to deathe; all theis extreme and crewell tortures
he used and inflicted upon them to terrefy the reste for attemptinge the
like...." These were stern measures that produced results and few of his
contemporary associates took issue including John Rolfe, Ralph Hamor,
Reverend Alexander Whitaker and even Sir Edwin Sandys. To them,
motivated by the spirit of the time, hard conditions required stern
Robert Johnson, in 1612, evaluated the new settlement as he saw it: "the
colony is removed up the river forescore miles further beyond Jamestown
to a place of high ground, strong and defensible by nature, a good air,
wholesome and clear, unlike the marshy seat at Jamestown, with fresh and
plenty of water springs, much fair and open grounds freed from woods,
and wood enough at hand." In 1614 Hamor described the town here as
having "3 streets of well framed howses, a hansom Church, and the
foundations of a more stately one laid, of brick, in length one hundred
foote, and fifty foot wide, beside store houses, watch houses, and such
like." Near it, and behind the pale, was a great quantity of corn
ground--enough to support the whole Colony and easy for "manuring and
Two years later it seems evident that the "citty of Henricus" had
retrogressed, perhaps, out of emphasis on Bermuda City just down river.
At this time there were only 38 men and boys "at _Henrico_ and in the
precints." Of these 22 were "Farmors," the rest were "Officers and
others." Although it was "our furthest habitacion into the land" it was
listed as self sufficient in "food and apparell." Captain Smalley, in
the absence of James Davis, was in command and the minister was William
Wickham. Wickham "in his life and doctrine gives good examples, and
godlie instructions to the people."
Even though the "citty" continued its decline, the Incorporation, of
which it was the center, carried on its name. In 1619 Henrico was
reported to have had but a few "old" houses, and a "ruinated" Church
with some other buildings "in the Island." It continued, however, as a
fixed community until destroyed by the Indians during, and after, the
massacre. On March 22, 1622 only 5 were killed at "Henrico Iland." It
was represented in the assembly of 1619 by John Polentine and Thomas
Dowse. The latter may have been actually living on the College land,
above the "citty," where he had earlier received a patent from the hand
of Argall. There is no mention of Henrico town in 1624 and 1625. As a
matter of fact, the only settlement in the entire Incorporation of
Henrico listed in the census of 1625 was the College Land. This had been
the only community, too, to send representatives to the Assembly in
1624. The effects of the massacre in this area had been great.
When the settlers first reached Virginia the Arrahatock Indian village
appears to have been located several miles above the point where Henrico
City was established in 1611. It was, perhaps, near "Arahatec's Joy"
where the exploring colonists were feasted on June 2, 1607. This was on
the north side of the river which they called the Popham side after
Chief Justice Popham. When Dale laid out his town of "Henricus," it was
described as "near to an Indian Towne called Arasahattocke."
At some point in the story, the Indians left, or were driven out of,
their town site which was appropriated by the colonists. Even though it
was close to, and appears to have been grouped often with the Henrico
settlement, it seems, too, to have been a separate and distinct
community. At Argall's departure in the spring of 1619, it was listed as
one of seven Virginia settlements with Henrico being another. When
Yeardley arrived just a little later both Arrahatock and Henrico were
listed among the forts, towns and plantations which he found.
In the Assembly of 1619 Thomas Dowse and John Polentine represented the
"citty of Henricus" and must have spoken for Arrahatock as well. The
site appears to have been included in the College lands a fact that was
protested by William Weldon the Commander of the men who settled this
property. At the time, late 1619 and early 1620, Capt. Samuel Mathews
was established at "Harrowatox" on an excellent site where he had at
least two surplus houses. Weldon, with a small complement of his college
tenants, was assigned to be "in consortship with Captaine Mathewes" for
security and other purposes.
There is some reason to think that the settlement of Arrahatock
("harichatox" or "harry hattocks") reappeared after the massacre. At
least its identity as a place name continued for a time.
THE COLLEGE LANDS (13)
In the property listing for Virginia made in May, 1625, there is an
entry that reads: "On the northerly side of James River, from the Falles
downe to Henerico containing about x miles in length, are the publique
land's, reserved & laid out, wherof 10,000 acres, for the Universitie
lands, 3000 Acres for the Companys lands, with other land belonging to
the Colledge; the common land for the Corporation [of Henrico] 1500
acres." The University and College lands were a testimony to the
interest, the efforts, and the work of the Company in behalf of the
Christianization of the Indians and the advancement of education in
Virginia. The enterprise did not materialize, yet there had been every
expectation that it would.
Concentrated attention on the proposed University and, particularly, the
College began in 1619 although there is evidence that Argall, when
Governor, did some work in this direction. Specific evidence of interest
toward Christianizing the Indians and educating the "infidels children"
in Virginia is easy to find in the literature and records of the period.
Yeardley's instructions in 1618 carried the order to locate a suitable
place for a university in the Henrico area. He was to make immediate
preparation for building a college there. A generous contribution had
already been made in England towards the "planting of a college" and
10,000 acres were to be set aside as an endowment.
When the bishop's collection for the college had reached L1,500, a
decision was made. Rather than start construction with too little, it
was resolved to send fifty "tenants-at-halves" to work on the land. Half
of their income would go to the college project and half to themselves.
Profits, it was expected, would augment the building and maintenance
fund and help to support tutors and students. In the meanwhile, friendly
relations with the Indians were important to make possible the willing
education of their children.
The tenants reached Virginia in November, 1619, under the command of
William Weldon. Being poorly supplied, however, and inexperienced, the
Governor dispersed 30 of them among the old planters and sent Weldon and
the remainder to be with Capt. Samuel Mathews at Arrahatock which was
actually within the College lands. This was a poor beginning and meant
that little would happen within a year. Weldon thought the land to be
excellent; "a goodly heritage beinge as pleasant & fruitfull a soile as
any this land yeeldeth." It troubled him, however, that two of the best
locations were already claimed and planted: one by Mathews, "for the
use of Sir Thomas Midleton & Alderman Johnson," and one by Thomas Dowse.
Both were by virtue of grants from Argall. He knew, too, that he needed
more men and more supplies. In the meanwhile Virginia's first assembly
had endorsed the idea of the "University and Colledge" and asked that it
be pushed to fulfillment.
In England, the early beginnings were seen not to have been too
successful and the Company committee set up for the purpose explored
various possibilities. In the spring of 1620, George Thorpe, a gentleman
of the King's privy chamber and a member of the Company Council, was
made deputy for the Company to prosecute the project. Already he had
gone to Virginia in the interest of Berkeley Hundred. Previously, it
appears, an additional fifty tenants had been dispatched to the Colony.
In the meanwhile, much Company effort was diverted to the East India
School. This free school, planned to have dependence on Henrico College,
was projected for Charles City. Although emphasis was on the education
of the Indian, it seems clear that the colonists' children were likewise
a consideration. There is specific comment on this as it related to the
East India School.
Donations in money and kind such as books and communion service
continued to be forthcoming in England. An audit of the Company books
early in 1622 showed college receipts to the extent of L2,043 and
expenditures of L1,477. In Virginia, George Thorpe continued to
encourage peace and friendship with the Indians setting an excellent
personal example in this. He did what he could, too, to develop the
College lands even planting vines to the number of 10,000.
Then came the massacre which took George Thorpe and 17 of the "Colledge
People" located about 2 miles above "Henrico-Citie." The college project
did not survive this blow even though the Company urged it and the 60
surviving tenants were returned to the land in the spring of 1623 with
the hope of building houses and planting orchards and gardens.
Brickmakers were held to their contract against the time when the
erection of the "fabricke of the colledge" would be possible.
In 1624, there were 29 persons living on the college lands, and,
according to the census of 1625, this had dropped to 22 who were living
in 8 houses. They were then deficient in food, excepting fish, and in
livestock and were not too well armed, having but 16 armors, 6 swords,
and 18 fixed pieces. The excursion into ironmaking had failed after the
expenditure of "the greatest parte of the stock belonginge to the
Colledge." With the dissolution of the Company the spark for the project
seemed gone. One student of this subject, Robert Hunt Land, has
concluded: "Possibly a greater blow to Henrico College than the massacre
was the revocation of the charter of the Virginia Company of London."
THE FALLS (14)
One of President Wingfield's first acts in May, 1607, after the
construction of James Fort was underway, was the dispatch of a party to
explore the river above Jamestown. Twenty-two men under Capt.
Christopher Newport left on May 21 and proceeded inland to the falls of
in six dayes they arrived at a [Indian] Towne called Powhatan,
consisting of some twelve houses, pleasantly seated on a hill;
before it three fertile Iles, about it many of their cornefields,
the place is very pleasant, and strong by nature ... To this place
the river is navigable: but higher within a mile, by reason of the
rockes and isles, there is not passage for a small boat, this they
call the Falles.
Newport's shallop could go no further. Then, as reported, "upon one of
the little iletts at the mouth of the falls ... [Newport] sett up a
crosse with this inscription _Jacobus Rex_. 1607. and his owne name
below: At the erecting hereof we prayed for our king and our owne
prosperous succes in this his action, and proclaimed him king, with a
And so it was for more than two years. It was in the late summer of 1609
that Smith sent Capt. Francis West out from Jamestown to establish a
settlement at the Falls. He left with 140 men and a six months food
supply "to inhabitt there." He secured a site that proved too low in
elevation being subject to inundation in times of high water. When Smith
went up to look over the new post, he negotiated with the Indians to
take over their fortified settlement on a point of high ground. This
included lodgings and "300 acres of ground readie to plant," a place
which Smith called "Nonsuch."
The shift of site was made in West's absence and when he returned he was
not happy with the situation. He preferred the site of his choice and
the settlers returned again "to the open aire of West Fort," abandoning
"Nonsuch." Indian attack followed and the settlement became untenable.
In the fall West returned with his men to Jamestown having lost a goodly
number at the "Falles" as well as eleven men and a boat at "Arsetocke" a
few miles downstream. One more settlement had temporarily failed.
Lord De La Warr attempted to re-establish the post here in 1610 and
built "Laware's Fort" from which he planned to search for minerals in
the coming spring. This, too, failed when illness caused him to return
to Jamestown, the same sickness, perhaps, that led him to quit Virginia
a little later.
FALLING CREEK (15)
In 1619 the Company sent 150 persons to Virginia "to set up three iron
works" in view of the fact of "proofe having been made of the
extraordinary goodnesse of that iron." This was further manifestation of
the continuing interest in Virginia resources, particularly iron. This
apparently led to the establishment at Falling Creek of the first
regular ironworks within the Colony.
These workmen, equipped "with all Materials and other provisions
therunto belonging," were under the direction, care, and charge of a
Captain Bluett (Blewet) with whom the Company had contracted. His death,
along with that of the "principall officers and cheife men," created
some confusion. Yeardley promised to do what he could with this company
since he had found "an excellent water and good oare." The lack of "good
understanding workers" was, however, serious. In June, 1620, John Pory
reported on the "Iron workes" which were "so much affected by the
Company." His logic seemed good when he deplored the lack of initial
"deliberation there in England." A more careful survey in the Colony by
a skilled leader would have been helpful, too, even though "abundant
iron ... and fit places to make it in" had been partially scouted. This
comment was made despite the 110 Warwickshire and Staffordshire and the
forty Sussex workmen, described as "all framed to iron works," who had
been contracted for the project.
It was reported a year later that "the iron workes goeth forward veary
well." Another contemporary commented on the works and spoke of "having
already receaved a good proofe thereof by iron sent from there." This
might have been small comfort for the L4,000 which had been spent
In May, 1621, realizing that a replacement for Bluett was needed, the
Company entered into an agreement with John Berkeley, "sometimes of
Beverstone Castle in the County of Glocester (a gentleman of honourable
familie)," as "Master & over-seer" of the works at the site "called The
falling Creeke." He agreed to take himself, his son Maurice, three
servants from his "private family" and twenty workmen. These would
include eight for the furnace (two founders, two keepers, two filers and
two carpenters) and twelve others (four finers, two servants, two
"chaffery men," two "hammer men" and two servants). He would get L30
toward furnishing his personal group, plus their transportation, and L20
to cover the assembly of the workmen. The twenty workmen, to be bound
for seven years of service to the Company, would be transported and
"victualled as other tenantes for one whole yeare at the Companies
Letters were dispatched to the Colony urging special care and attention
for this new company made up of Berkeley and "his ging." Berkeley
evidently felt that the Falling Creek site was ideal "for wood, water,
mines and stone." His letters indicated that he expected to be producing
good quantities of iron by the late spring of 1622. He envisioned much
more for the now L5,000 investment than the disparagingly reported
return of a "fire shovell and tonges and a little barre of iron made by
a bloomery...." He, however, did not expect the massacre.
The Indians swept down on the ironworks community and left twenty-seven
dead as well as considerable destruction to the works. The dead included
John Berkeley, a mason, two wives, three children and "Joseph Fitch
Apothecary to Doctor Pots." This was the end of the project although the
Company demonstrated, for a time, its intention to resume this work
which was considered basic for the Colony's welfare. The Virginia
Governor and Council would have reinforced the survivors, they reported,
if "soe many of the principall worke men had not beene slaine." It was
the opinion of Maurice Berkeley, who succeeded his father in command,
that "it was utterlie impossible to proceede in that Worke...." Even
though, in 1623, it is recorded that the Company sent 9 more men there
is nothing to indicate that production was resumed on the 100 acres
along Falling Creek that John Blower had "Surrendred for the use of the
Iron Works." Another industrial scheme had failed and the Company had
taken yet another loss.
SHEFFIELD'S PLANTATION (16)
It appears that sometime prior to March, 1622, Thomas Sheffield obtained
a patent for 150 acres located "some three miles from Falling Creeke"
and about two miles above "Henrico Iland." He proceeded to establish a
settlement here in the Corporation of Henrico. Seemingly all went well
until the massacre when the Indians wiped out this advance post on the
James. "Master Thomas Sheffeild and Rachel his wife" along with eleven
others, including two boys, were slain. There is no mention of further
activity at this date.
PROCTOR'S PLANTATION (17)
John Proctor was among those who came to Virginia under a Company
Charter in the 1609-15 period. It would appear that he located a
plantation well up the James River, on its south side, but below Falling
Creek. The land list of 1625 specified that he had a 200 acre grant in
this vicinity. Perhaps, he was established here well before the
massacre. When the Indians descended on his place, he must have been
away, for his wife stood her ground as she did later when the Colony
officials sought to force her to vacate the now isolated post. It is
reported that "Mistress Proctor, a proper, civill, modest gentlewoman
... ["fortified and lived in despite of the enemy"] till perforce the
English officers forced her and all them with her to goe with them, or
they would fire her house themselves, as the salvages did when they were
In 1624 Proctor and his wife were living "Over the River" from Jamestown
and a year later he, his wife Alice and three servants were at Paces
Paines. It is not known whether he returned to his plantation upriver
from which he had been uprooted in 1622. He had, in 1623, received a
patent to transport fifty persons to Virginia together with sufficient
necessities and provisions for cultivating the land. The latter
seemingly included "a wherry or small boate." There is evidence, too,
that he could punish his servants if the occasion warranted even to the
extent of using a "line or whip corde."
Sir Thomas Dale had a good eye for land and security. Consequently he
viewed the ground across the James from, and to the west of, Henrico
with considerable interest which he translated into action soon after
getting his principal settlement underway in 1611. Here, for the
enlargement of the town, some 12 acres were impaled "especially for our
hoggs to feed in." He named this locality "Hope in faith, Coxen-dale"
and proceeded to secure it with a series of forts which he named
Charity, Elizabeth, Patience and Mount Malado. There was "a retreat or
guest house" for sick people which was declared to be on "a high seat"
with "wholesome air." It was in this area that the Rev. Alexander
Whitaker chose his "Parsonage, or church land." This was "som[e] hundred
acres impaled, and a faire framed parsonage house built thereupon,
called Rocke Hall of this Towne." Capt. James Davis was made commander
of the forts.
Coxendale continued to exist and grow, perhaps, despite the inadequacy
of the records that relate the story. Rolfe, in 1616, did not list it,
yet possibly he considered it to be a part of Henrico. It was listed as
one of 9 forts, plantations and towns found in Virginia when Yeardley
reached the colony in April, 1619. There is no special reference to it
in the list of burgesses named in 1619. Here again it may have been
included with Henrico in matters of representation. In matters of land
grants, however, it had a separate identity. In the spring of 1619 a
grant of 100 acres "Scituate in Coxendale over against the Iland of
Henricus" was made to Thomas Read "under the Collonies seale." This was
in reward for eight years of "good service in that country." Three years
later Read made over this tract, a part of it called "Mount my Lady" to
Edward Hurd, a "London cittizen and iron monger."
The massacre struck here, too, as it did elsewhere. The statistics would
indicate that the slaughter in this general area was light compared with
many other points. Perhaps the water barrier in the "curls" of the river
plus the palisades and forts gave greater security. Despite this, when
the massacre was over, these points were isolated and removal was
ordered. Capt. Roger Smith, on April 20, 1622, was given "absolute power
and command in matters of warr, over all the people both in Henerico
Ileand and Coxendale ... uppon paine of death." He was "to use all care
and vigilancie" in "the safe bringeing away of all the said people, and
cattell, and goodes...."
This was but a temporary delay in settlement as the urge for land and
property became greater. Just how soon there was a return here is
unclear. In May, 1625, however, 8 patents were listed for Coxendale in
the Corporation of Henrico. This was for a total of 802 acres ranging
from a twelve acre grant to Lt. Edward Berkeley, to 200 acres to John
Laydon. It may be significant that none were marked as "planted."
"BERMUDA CITTY" (CHARLES CITY) INCORPORATION (19)
In 1612 Marshal Thomas Dale drove the Indians from their habitation
about the "curls" of the James and the Appomattox, the river that bears
their name. Seeing it to be good ground, he determined to possess it and
to establish a settlement here. As Ralph Hamor relates: "I proceed to
our next and most hopefull habitation, whether we respect commodity, or
security (which we principally aime at) against forraigne designes, and
invasions, I meane the Bermuda Citty, begun about Christmas last
...." The initial settlement was near the Appomattox, on its west
side, some five miles from Henrico but 14 by the circuitous river route.
Dale was very hopeful of the "new Bermudas" and proceeded to annex "to
the freedom, and corporation ... many miles of champion, and woodland,
in several Hundreds" on both sides of the James. These Hamor enumerated
as the " Upper and  Nether Hundreds,  Rochdale Hundred 
Wests Sherley Hundred, and  Diggs his Hundred." Evidently a
settlement was begun in each of these areas all of which kept active
till the massacre.
BERMUDA HUNDRED (19A)
It was in the Nether Hundred, which became Bermuda Hundred and later the
"Neck-of-Land" in Charles City, that settlement was first initiated
"for there [according to Hamor in 1614] lyeth the most convenient
quantity of corne ground." With a "pale" from river to river but two
miles in length it was possible to secure some eight miles of "exceeding
good corne ground." Houses were built one-half mile from each other on
"the verge of the river." In 1614 these were described as "faire houses,
already builded." There were others as well totaling "not so few as
fifty." Gates' lieutenant, George Yeardley, was then in charge.
ROCHDALE HUNDRED (19B)
This plantation, just west of Nether (Bermuda) Hundred, was gotten
underway about the same time. A "crosse pale," about four miles long,
was, in 1614, already built "with bordering houses along the pale." It
was in this Hundred that the "hogges, and other cattell" had a 20 mile
circuit in which to graze securely.
BERMUDA CITY (19C)
The "chiefe Citty," when Hamor left, was not yet ready. Its
construction, at a point across the Appomattox from Bermuda Hundred,
while begun, was not pushed until the fall of 1614. Here Bermuda City
was fashioned to be "an impregnable retreat, against any forraign
invasion, how powerfull so ever." This became the fourth and last of the
public, or general, corporations taking its place with James City,
Kecoughtan, and Henrico. Within a few years its name would change from
Bermuda to Charles City to honor Prince Charles as Henrico had been
named for Prince Henry his brother, both being royal sons. Hamor, in
1614, spoke of "Bermuda Citty," evidently meaning to include Bermuda
Hundred as well, as "a business of greatest hope, ever begunne in our
territories their." At the same time he mentions the special "pattent,"
or agreement, made between Dale and the people there, "termes and
conditions they voluntarily have undertaken."
When Dale assigned small parcels of ground to planters for their own
use prior to, or in, 1613, he did much for the Colony. It stopped some
of the drain on the common "magazine" and allowed room for individual
profit and enterprise. It also freed the colonists from Company service
except in emergencies and for one month a year. In making this
arrangement, however, he excepted the Bermuda Incorporation people with
whom he made a special contract. They were bound to three years of
almost continuous public service in the Bermuda City project "before
they have their freedom." At the end of their term, however, they
claimed their rights of freedom and the Governor, then Samuel Argall,
could not deny their claim. On November 30, 1617, he reported in reply
to the "citizens of Bermuda hund[red]" that he would "not infringe their
rights being a member of that City himself" but begged that the Colony
servants "may stay their this year." Evidently these Bermuda people
began to enjoy the rights and freedoms that did not become general until
the Company division and "Greate Charter" which evolved in 1618 and
The center of gravity in the Colony in the 1611-16 period was upriver in
the Henrico and Bermuda City area. In Rolfe's report of 1616 "Bermuda
Nether Hundred" was by far the most active and most heavily populated
area. Its 119 people was much in excess of the 50 at Jamestown which
stood second among the 6 populated points. Bermuda's population then
embraced chiefly the members of the Corporation although there were 17
"farmers" and a few "who labor generally for the Colony, amongst whom,
some make pitch and Tarr, Pott-ashes, Chark-coale, and other workes, and
are maintayned by the magazin, but are not of the Corporation." Capt.
George Yeardley, who was deputy governor and deputy marshal, "for the
most part" lived here as did Alexander Whitaker who had the "ministerall
The "Cities of Henrico & Charles [Bermuda]" were the best fortified
points in the Colony standing "upon high ground the cliffes beinge
steepe but of a claye mould the ayre good and wholesome." Also "about
those places [there were] good quantities of cleared groundes."
Fortifications were by "trench and pallizado" with "great timber"
blockhouses athwart "passages and for scouring the pallizadoes." There,
too, was "access to shipping."
Much official business was transacted here where the Governor was in
residence much of the time. Courts, on occasion, convened here and
official proclamations and documents were issued from the hand of
various governors and from the pen of the Colony's secretary. Such was
the commission to William Cradock made "provost marshall of Bermuda City
and of all the Hundred thereto belonging" from Samuel Argall "Admirall
and for the time present principal Governor of Virginia" issued at
"Bermuda City" on February 20, 1618 over John Rolfe's signature as
"Secretary and Recorder."
It appears to have been Argall that did much to return the emphasis to
Jamestown and away from Bermuda. In 1617 he wrote that he preferred
Jamestown and proposed to strengthen it as a good healthy site. Charles
City remained active, however, and the largest seat in the Colony. In
1619 Samuel Sharpe and Samuel Jordan represented the Bermuda area in the
Assembly. It is not known whether they voted for the measure that
required all persons from Charles City and other points who were going
down river below the Capital to touch "first here at James Citty to
knowe whether the Governor will command him any service." By this time
Bermuda Hundred and Bermuda City were most often designated "Charles
City and Hundred."
It was in 1621 that the Company undertook to establish and build the
East India School and to locate this "free schoole in Virginia" at
Charles City. A grant of 1,000 acres was set aside and a few workmen
were sent to the Colony. For a time it looked as if this center to
encourage the "rudiments of learning" and "principles of Religion,
civility of life, and humane learning" would materialize. It did not,
however, survive the massacre. When the workmen reached Virginia, they
were placed among the College tenants and later transferred to Martin's
The massacre of 1622 appeared to have been devastating in the Bermuda
area and led to its temporary abandonment. The list of those killed is,
however, rather light in comparison with settlements such as Martin's
Hundred. There were twenty-seven at four specified points. It leads one
to doubt that a full list of names was submitted.
Thought soon turned to a repair of the damages. It was judged "very
necessarie to raise new workes especiallie at Henrico & Charles Citty"
which according to one report were "utterlie demolished by the Indians."
This destruction, at least some of it, followed the abandonment of the
posts. Houses were burned and "poultry, hoggs, cowes, goates, and
horses" were killed in number "to the greate griefe as well as ruine of
the olde inhabitants...."
There was a return to the land in some large measure after the massacre.
In 1624 a list of 41 residents was given for "the Neck of Land" in
Charles City Corporation and the census of 1625 showed 44 in this old
Bermuda Hundred area. In 1624 Luke Boys and Thomas Harris sat in the
Assembly at Jamestown and may have helped to enact the measure that
required "courtes [to be] kept once a moneth in the Corporations of
Charles Cittie & Elizabeth Cittie" to handle cases involving petty
offenses and sums up to 100 pounds of tobacco. The muster of January 24,
1625 shows the "Neck-of-Land" to have been very well established. Its 44
people had 16 houses and good supplies of corn, fish, livestock, poultry
and arms. In May, 1625, ten individual grants (ranging from 50 to 1,150
acres and totaling 2,900) were listed as located here in addition to the
corporation and common land.
PIERCEY'S PLANTATION (20)
At the time of the massacre Abraham Piercey had a plantation adjacent to
the Appomattox River and, perhaps, somewhat upstream from the James.
Here "at Master Abraham Pierse his plantation some five miles off the
Colledge people" four persons, 3 men and a boy were killed. Piercey, a
prominent merchant, named to the Council in 1624, may have laid out his
acres here, "in lieu of his Long service done the Company," as early as
1620. The holding, in May, 1625, was defined as 1,150 acres obtained by
patent. A place name here "Peircies Toyle" Creek very likely is a result
of his activity in this area.
JORDAN'S JOURNEY (21)
This plantation took its name from its founder, Capt. Samuel Jordan and
appears to have embraced 450 acres. At least in 1625 Jordan was credited
with this amount as being "planted" by patent in "the territory of
greate Weyanoke." It has been said that he established Jordan's Journey,
also known as Beggar's Bush, in 1619 although in the Assembly of 1619 he
represented "Charles Citty." He was one of the Assembly Committee of
four appointed to examine "the first booke of the fower" of the "Greate
Charter." In 1622 Jordan received a share of Company stock from Mary Tue
as well as 100 acres in "Diggs his Hundred." At this time he was listed
as "Samuel Jordan of Charles Hundred gentleman."
Jordan himself died in 1623 and his widow was soon seeking marriage
again. When she became betrothed to two men at the same time, Capt.
William Ferrar and Rev. Greville Pooley, and became embroiled in
controversy, the Council took note of it. A proclamation followed which
prohibited any woman from contracting herself to "two several men at the
Jordan's Journey seems to have prospered. In 1624 Nathaniel Causey
represented the plantation in the Assembly. At the time there were
forty-two persons in residence and eight had died within the year. In
1625 the population stood at fifty-five persons (thirty-six males and
nineteen females). Corn and fish supplies were adequate and there were
some cattle and hogs as well as numerous poultry. In the matter of
houses, the total was quite large--being twenty-two. The plantation
boasted of three boats and substantial amounts of small arms
(thirty-eight) and armor of various types (thirty-six items).
WOODLEEFE'S PLANTATION (22)
Captain John Woodleefe, a member of the Virginia Company, came to
Virginia initially in 1609 and remained active and interested in the
Colony. He was commissioned, in 1619, to go as governor and commander of
Berkeley Hundred which he did late in the year. He had other interests,
however, and by April of the same year had brought four men, which he
had supplied with "apparell and armes," and his wife and children to
Virginia. It is intimated that he had other colonizing interests and
intentions. The Berkeley Hundred people had cautioned him about
attempting another plantation that might interfere with their holdings.
He was instructed not to establish it "unless full ten English miles
He was governor at Berkeley Hundred for about a year and it was sometime
shortly before, during, or just after this term of service, that he set
up his own plantation. He seems to have chosen a point on the south side
of the James a bit up river from Berkeley which he patented in 1620. It
lay along the river and west of Jordan's Journey. This could very well
have been the 350 acres listed in his name in May, 1625. His was one of
the tracts in "the territory of greate Weyanoke" and was later patented
again by his son.
CHAPLAIN'S CHOICE (23)
This plantation appears in a listing in 1624. In March of that year,
too, Isaac Chaplain represented it in the Assembly. This was another of
the number of particular, or private, plantations founded in Virginia in
the 1619-24 period. It is generally assumed to have been located in the
area to the east of Woodleefe's Plantation. It was noted in May, 1625
that Isaac Chaplain had 200 acres which were "planted" in the
"territory of great Weyonoke." He had as well, what may have been a
personal stake, 50 other acres in the Corporation of Charles City.
In 1624 a total of twenty-four persons were living "At Chaplains choice"
and a year later the head count stood at seventeen (thirteen males, four
females). This 1625 figure, as did the other muster statistics, included
the Truelove Company people and goods. This embraced two boats, but only
two houses, forty-one barrels of corn and some small amounts of peas,
meal and oatmeal plus three hogs and forty-eight fowl. There were
reasonable amounts of small arms and armor and six pieces of ordnance.
The latter, an unusually high figure for a private plantation, included
one falconet and five "murderers." Some tobacco was being produced, for
"John Trehern of Chaplins Choise" exported "one hogshead" in 1625. A
lawsuit ensued when the ship captain sold it, although it had been
consigned to Trehern's brother. As satisfaction he was to get "two
hundred & thirty waight of tobacco in leafe & smothed together with one
TRUELOVE'S PLANTATION (24)
On January 24, 1621, a share of land in Virginia was assigned "unto
Rowland Truelove of London, Clothworker." Three months later he received
a patent as a "new adventurer" and in November, this was defined to
cover the transportation of 100 persons. In this venture he had "divers
other patentees, adventurers" and associates.
He does not appear to have been discouraged by the massacre, for in
August, 1622, the Truelove Company sent supplies for their plantation.
The Company records relate that "mr Trulove and his associates intend to
proceed in their plantation beinge no whitt discouraged with this late
massacre of the English by the treacherous Indians...." They had
requested a Commission for the "shippe and voyadge" to Virginia of the
"barke called the _Trulove_ of London of about forty-six tunn."
A year later, in July, 1623, "Rowland Treawlove and Companie" pledged
anew to supply their plantation with "victuall apparrell and other
necessaries" to the extent of L400. Their patent had recently been
renewed, or passed again under the seal. This was one of seventy-two
that passed in June, 1623 giving good evidence of the private activity
afoot for, and in, the Colony at this time. Soon a ship was dispatched
with twenty-five new emigrants. In the cargo, too, were 100 "hogsheads"
of supplies valued at L536, a substantial sum, for the plantation of the
Despite this, all did not go well and the enterprise seems not to have
flourished. In January, 1624, Nathaniel Causey was directed by the Court
in Virginia to "take into his hands and safe custodie all such goods as
belonge to the Company and Societie of Trueloves Plantatione." This had
been requested by the Company overseer and Causey, after a "true
inventory" was to report to the Governor and Council. In the muster of
1625 Truelove's Plantation appears to be associated with Chaplain's
"POWLE-BROOKE" OR MERCHANT'S HOPE (25)
Captain Nathaniel Powell, who came early to Virginia and served as
Acting Governor when Argall left in 1619, settled a plantation on the
south side of the James. It was located on Powell Creek at the head of
which was the site of Weyanoke Indian Town. The date of his
establishment appears to have been in 1619, or a little later, and his
enterprise embraced some 600 acres. It was known as "Powle Brook" and
was not until later to get the Merchant's Hope designation.
Matters went well until the Indian massacre which all but wiped out the
settlement and led to its abandonment. Captain Powell and his wife were
both slain along with ten others, three of them women. It is said that
the Indians were not content with killing. They proceeded to
"butcher-like hagle their bodies, and cut off his head...."
Powell's brothers and sisters in England petitioned the Company to get
an account of the estate. The Company in turn asked the Virginia Council
to take special care of "this buissnes, both because it is of great
consequence, as also for that Captain Nath: Powell was a man of
extraordinary merritt, and the petitioners poore men...." Thomas Powell
of Suffolk, England, came into the property. He, a brother of Nathaniel,
later disposed of it by sale.
MAYCOCK'S PLANTATION (26)
Samuel Maycock came to Virginia about 1618 and served as a Councilor
under both Yeardley and Wyatt. He located a plantation upriver from
Jamestown on the south side next above Flowerdieu Hundred sometime prior
to April, 1619. It took its name, Maycock's Hundred or Plantation, from
him, the original patentee, as was often the case in early Virginia. It
would seem that he, like others, then undertook to bring in men and
supplies. There is reference to Sara Maycock bringing over four servants
in the _Abigail_ in 1622 "uppon the accompt of Mr. Samuell Maycock." For
this she got 200 acres of her choice.
Maycock's was another of the early beginnings that was snuffed out by
the massacre. Four were killed on his "Divident" including himself.
Another was Edward Lister who came to Plymouth in the _Mayflower_ and
had signed the "compact." Maycock was one of six Councilors who perished
on March 22, 1622 at the hand of the Indians.
FLOWERDIEU HUNDRED--PIERCEY'S HUNDRED (27)
In 1618 Sir George Yeardley acquired 1,000 acres on the south side of
the James River above Martin's Brandon and across from his Tanks
Weyanoke holding. He proceeded to establish a plantation here which he
named in honor of his wife who had been Temperance Flowerdieu. In 1619
it was well enough along to merit the representation in the Assembly
which was performed by John Jefferson and Ensign Edward Rossingham, the
latter one of Yeardley's kinsmen. This, perhaps, suffered in the
massacre less than many other settlements. Only six persons were killed
here. Flowerdieu Hundred was one of the fewer than a dozen points that
the Colony decided to hold after the onslaught.
Council minutes and other sources in the 1622-24 period show the
plantation as one that was probably functioning well. There were cases
revolving around the use of livestock, particularly cattle, and the
cultivation of tobacco. At least one such case led Yeardley to examine
witnesses at "Flowerdieu Hundreth." One reference to tobacco puts
interesting light on its cultivation at this time. Yeardley's overseer,
one Sergeant Fortescue, was charged with negligence in the care of the
... hee did hange the tobacco soe thick uppon the lynes that
the lynes brake and the tobacco fell to the ground, and before
the said tobaco was at all dryed he made it upp into role and
soe by his faulte it was not marchantable and that all the
tobacco except six or seven hundred waight, was made upp wett
and nott merchantable, The whole crop amounting to 9000 waight
This seems to mean a yearly harvest of 9,000 pounds at Flowerdieu
Hundred in 1624.
This was the year that Yeardley sold this plantation as well as his
holding across the James at Weyanoke to Captain Abraham Piercey, one of
the leading merchants in the Colony. In 1624, the year of the sale, a
population of sixty-three (including eleven negroes) had been listed for
Flowerdieu Hundred with another eighteen having died in the previous
twelve months. In the census of 1625, Piercey's Hundred, as the place
was now called, had fifty-seven including its seven negroes (four men,
two women and one child). The enumeration included twelve houses, three
stores, four tobacco houses, and two boats, all of which had been
bought, or built, by Piercey. There was a windmill too, and this, the
first in the Colony, had been erected by Yeardley, it is said, in 1621.
It stood on Windmill, earlier known as Tobacco, Point.
Corn supplies were given at ninety-three barrels and fish at 1,600
pounds. Cattle was totaled at forty-four head and hogs at thirty-one.
Supplies of powder and lead were ample for the thirty-four "fixed
pieces" which were on hand. Besides, there were thirty-four swords and
20 complete suits of armor as well as some other types. Two pieces of
ordnance were included and, perhaps, one of these is that described as
on hand in the winter of 1622. This evidently was one of the most
successful of the Virginia private plantations.
"CAPTAINE SPILMANS DIVIDENT" (28)
Sometime prior to 1622 Captain Spilman, perhaps, Thomas Spilman, brother
of Henry Spilman, occupied a tract that lay between Flowerdieu Hundred
and Martin's Brandon. It was Thomas who had come to Virginia in 1616 or
1617. The massacre uprooted the settlement here and two persons were
slain by the Indians. "Captaine Spilman, a man warie enough heretofore &
acquainted with their trecheries," was forced to locate elsewhere.
Thomas appears to have chosen Elizabeth City where he planted fifty
acres and in 1625 was established with his wife, a child "borne in
Virginia," and four servants.
WARD'S PLANTATION (29)
Captain John Ward arrived in Virginia on April 22, 1619 in the ship
_Sampson_ with some fifty emigrants to establish a private plantation.
Samuel Argall later placed this as in 1618. He selected some 1,200 acres
west of Martin's Brandon and adjoining a creek on the south side of the
James which still bears his name. He appears to have been in association
with Captain John Bargrave who, for some years, had been intimately
associated in Virginia trade and colonization. Several members of the
Bargrave family were with him. It was Captain John Bargrave who, in
1622, claimed the distinction of having undertaken to be "the first
planter of a private colony in Virginia." This effort he dated as late
1617, or early 1618, and it seemingly came to nought unless his effort
was continued in the Ward and John Martin enterprises.
Both Ward and Bargrave were among those granted patents in 1619 and were
included in the eleven people "Who had undertaken to transport to
Virginia great multitudes of people, with store of cattell." Soon after
arrival in the Colony, Ward found himself on the New England coast
fishing to aid Virginia's food supply. On his return in July, he made
his contribution to the general store.
His plantation evidently took root for it was among those that sent
representatives to the first Assembly at Jamestown in July and August,
1619. Ward and his Lieutenant, John Gibbs, attended and Ward, himself,
served on the Assembly committee that examined the first and third books
of the "Great Charter."
Initially his representation was challenged on the grounds that he had
seated in Virginia without authority and without a commission. The
Burgesses, however, recognized his support of the Colony and the fact
that he had adventured his person. He was permitted to take his seat
providing he agree to get a lawful commission. There was no further
question when he assented to this. Perhaps he fulfilled his obligation
when his old indenture was passed again under the seal on May 17, 1620
in the name of "Capt John Warde and his associates."
Ward continued his activities and in the fall of 1620 he was again
trading on the Potomac--"the people there, are said, to have dealt
falsely with him, so he took 800 bushels of corne per force." Such acts
probably had a bearing on the massacre that came in 1622. The massacre
may, as a matter of fact, have ended the Ward Plantation story as it did
the story for a number of settlements in early Virginia. Probably the
twelve persons killed at Lieutenant Gibbs "Dividend" had reference to
Ward's Plantation. Mention of the plantation ceases after this date
although seemingly Ward received a new grant, or a reaffirmation of his
old one, in June, 1623.
MARTIN'S BRANDON (30)
This private plantation, as did its founder John Martin, had a
tumultuous history from the time of its establishment. Martin, a member
of the first Virginia Council in 1607, lived almost constantly in the
Colony for a quarter of a century. He will always be remembered as the
single dissenting voice to the projected abandonment of Virginia in
June, 1610. He, as James P. C. Southall, has stated was "in many ways
... a typical Englishman in the sense that he was jealous and tenacious
of his own rights, stubborn and courageous in maintaining them."
When in England in 1616-17 he "was allowed in reward ten shares" of
Company stock and on January 29, 1617, obtained a patent that contained
privileges and exemptions such as were never before, or after, granted
to a Virginian planter. It was stipulated that he could "hold and enjoy"
his Virginia lands "in as large & ample manner and to all intents &
purposes as any Lord of Mannor here in England." It included, too,
provision for "free trafick in the Bay and Rivers" and the right to
establish "convenient markets" on his lands. He entered into close
business partnership with Captain John Bargrave, whom the Company, in
March, 1617, granted fifteen shares of land in Virginia. Bargrave
"relying upon the said patent of Martin" proceeded to furnish the
"_Edwyn_ of London with men and wares of good value fit for the said
plantation, and sent the same with the said Captain Martin into
Virginia." Martin left England in April, 1617 on the _Edwin_, "a barke
of very good sayle" and reached Virginia in May just after Argall who
had come as governor.
Bargrave had been hopeful of trading with Martin's Brandon and
transporting more colonists, yet Argall, to support the Colony,
compelled the _Edwin_ to remain in Virginia for almost a year and to be
used in the Colony and on the coast. It was March, 1618 before it could
set sail for England. In the meanwhile, Company affairs had come under
different management and Martin's patent was under fire.
When the Assembly was called in 1619, his plantation, now being well
established, sent two representatives down to Jamestown. The Burgesses
challenged them saying that Martin's patent exempted his settlement from
obedience to the laws of the Colony. Thomas Davis and Robert Stacy could
be seated, it was ruled, if Martin would bring his patent into
conformity. This he would not do saying that he would not "infringe any
parte" of it. Thereupon, the General Assembly submitted the case to the
Company for a definition and explanation of the offending clauses in
Martin's patent. Later, exception was taken to the nature of the
operation of Martin's Brandon plantation. It was alleged to be "a
receptacle of vagabonds and bankrupts & other disorderly p[er]sons &
whereof there hath been a public complaint...." It was charged further
to be a place "where such as are indebted do shroud and rescue them
selves under his protection."
Martin proceeded to fight for his patent in England and did all that he
could to maintain it. In the end, however, on April 2, 1623, he accepted
a new one for the land to be "laid out in Martin's Brandon." He was
denied the request for the nearby "swamps and boggs" for the use of "his
When he had departed for England in the spring of 1621 he had left his
settlement in the care of Lieutenant Edward Saunders. It was not until
1624 that Martin returned to Virginia with more servants and supplies.
In the meanwhile the massacre had caused at least the temporary
abandonment of the plantation after seven persons had been slain here.
The area is not mentioned as such in either the population listing of
1624 or in the census of 1625. In the listing of land patents in 1625,
however, there is an entry that reads "Marttin Brandon belonging to
Captaine John Marttin by Patent out of England (planted)." A later deed
(1643) defines "Martin's Brandon" as 4,550 acres between Chippokes and
Richard Pace, late in 1620, braved the wilds over the river from
Jamestown when, on December 5, he received a grant for 200 acres
upstream from Jamestown. These acres became known as "the plantation
called Paces Paines." It was in the territory of Tappahanna in the
western extremity of the Corporation of James City. Adjoining him was
the 100 acre tract granted, at the same time, to Francis Chapman who was
described as "scituate nere unto Paces-Paines." This, a little later,
was added to the Pace holdings. Pace was an "ancient planter" as was his
wife Isabella who also took land in her own right. Their son George
seated here and later claimed fifty acres each for the transportation of
6 persons in the _Marmaduke_ in 1621. John Burrows became one of their
Paces-Paines was seated soon after the patent was issued in 1620 and
Richard, who produced tobacco here, reported later that he "bestowed
great cost & charges uppon building ther, & cleareing of ground." He
made this statement when he applied, successfully, for permission to
return to his plantation some months after the massacre of 1622.
Both Pace and his plantation are mentioned in the accounts of this
Indian uprising. As reported later, "if God had not put it into the
heart of an Indian ... to disclose it, the slaughter of the massacre
could have been even worse." This Indian, one Chanco by name, belonged
to William Perry. Perry was active in the Paces-Paines area and later
married Richard Pace's widow and became "Commander" of the settlement.
The night before the Indian attack Chanco was at Pace's. In the night he
told Pace, who, it is reported, "used him as a sonne," of the impending
danger. Whereupon Pace secured his own house and quickly crossed the
river to Jamestown. The governor then spread the word as rapidly as
possible undoubtedly saving many lives in the Jamestown area. Chanco,
the Christian convert, has become a Virginia hero.
The retrenchment following the massacre led to the temporary abandonment
of Paces-Paines; yet late in 1622 Pace returned, having promised to
"fortifie & strengthen the place with a good company of able men."
Although not listed in 1624, the settlement was among those enumerated
in 1625. At that time it had a population of thirteen persons. It is of
note, perhaps, that the census made no mention of Pace, or Perry, yet it
does mention Francis Chapman as in residence. It included four old
planters: John Proctor (1607), Phettiplace Close (1608), Thomas Gates
(1609) and Francis Chapman (1608).
BURROWS' MOUNT (32)
This, like Paces-Paines, was located on the south side of the James,
upriver from Jamestown, and in the western part of the Corporation of
James City. At the time of the census, early in 1625, it boasted of but
seven persons. This, perhaps, should be increased by another ten
suggested by the reference that "Mr. [John] Burrowes and six of his men
which are planted heare are reconned, with theire armes provisions, etc.
at _James Cittie_." His Jamestown listing actually included his wife,
seven servants, and Mara Buck. He had become guardian for this daughter
of the Rev. Richard Buck and this included the management of "the
cattell belonging to Mr. Buck's children."
Burrows' Mount, or Burrows' Hill, was, it seems, a relatively new
plantation early in 1625. Burrows' 150 acres here very likely were the
result of his request for this amount on February 6 of that year. At
that time the court awarded him, on presentation of the required
"Certificates," the usual allotment for the transportation of three
persons. His actual settlement at "Burrowes Mount" may, however, have
preceded his grant.
PLANTATIONS "OVER THE RIVER FROM JAMESTOWN" (33)
Early in 1609 "We built also a fort for a retreat, near a convenient
river, upon a high commanding hill, very hard to be assaulted, and easie
to be defended: but ere it was halfe finished, this defect caused a
stay," it is recorded in _The Proceedings of the English Colonies in
Virginia_ (1612). This was envisioned as a place of refuge in the event
that enemy attack would force an evacuation of Jamestown. It is now
assumed that this was about a mile up a creek directly across the river
from Jamestown and that it still exists in part.
The fort saw no service. As a matter of fact, the colonists evidently
did not, in the first decade, find the south shore of the James across
from "James Citty" particularly hospitable. There is little record of
activity here prior to the massacre in March, 1622, although some land
grants may have preceded it.
Captain William Powell traded acres here with Captain John Hurleston as
early as 1620. A court case in 1625 establishes that Captain Powell and
others "did cleere a piece of grounde" here in April, 1622 which later
fell to Captain Samuel Mathews. This embraced some eight or nine acres
and did involve "howses" as well. On April 23, 1623, there was reference
to "all the plantations right over against James Citty." They were
described as pleasant and fruitful seats. The area in question here
extended from Hog Island up to the projection of land now called Swan's
The plantations were represented as a group in the Assembly of 1624 by
Samuel Mathews and Edward Grindon. Collectively, in 1624, they had a
reported population of thirty-three. In that year twenty-one persons
died, two having been slain by the Indians. It is not until the census
of 1625 that a number of the plantations in this section are clearly
identified. Five such are listed with a total population of ninety-six
persons. This was clearly a growing community at this time.
In May, 1625, it is of record that in excess of 3,700 acres had been
taken up in "The territory of Tappahanna over against James Citie" by
sixteen persons. Eleven of the grants were noted as "planted." The
largest single grant was to William Ewens for 1,000 acres. It should be
noted, perhaps, that no acreage figure was shown for the "Divident" of
Captain Samuel Mathews and that of Captain John Hurleston. Among those
listed as having received grants, and some were dead, were John Rolfe
(400 acres), Richard Pace (200 acres), Captain William Powell (750 acres
in two parcels), George Sandys (300 acres), and John Burrows (150
acres). All were "planted." Only the acreage of John Dodd, Francis
Chapman, Thomas Gates, John Utie and Robert Evers were not "planted."
THE TREASURER'S PLANTATION (GEORGE SANDYS) (33A)
George Sandys was named resident treasurer of the Colony and came to
Virginia in the ship _George_ in 1621. He, it seems, soon became
interested in the area over the water from Jamestown. His patent for 300
acres, here, as Treasurer of Virginia, is dated in December, 1624, yet
he was already "actually possessed" of this dividend, 100 acres of which
was for a bill of adventure for a share of Company stock and 200 for the
transportation of four persons to Virginia in 1621. He had William
Claiborne survey "at his plantation over the water" 650 acres including
his and parcels belonging to John Bainham and Edward Grindon. This was
"by the water side" and was about a square mile in extent as reported by
Claiborne. Evidently Sandys was actually in possession of all three
tracts at the time of the survey.
In 1625 his plantation had seventeen servants including two boys, and
Daniel Poole, "a french man" with his wife and "a yong child of
theires." Poole was defined as a "hired" man. Besides his own people,
another twenty-two lived "in the Treasurors Plant." In this number were
two women and several Italians. His was, perhaps, one of the best
equipped plantations in Virginia. There were two dwellings, cabins, two
stores, a framed house for raising silkworms, a vineyard of two acres,
and an acre and a half garden as well as "one large fort palled in" and
a piece of mounted ordnance. His 100 barrels of corn was the largest
amount reported by any single plantation. His arms were
extensive--thirty "armours" of various types, thirty small arms and
twenty swords. He was, however, a little short on livestock having only
nine goats and kids and two hogs.
HUGH CROWDER'S PLANTATION (33B)
Crowder came to Virginia in 1619 and became interested in a group ground
clearing project across the water as early as April, 1622. He reported
that "six of his family did help to cleere that grounde." In this he was
joined by Captain William Powell, Richard Pace, William Perry, Richard
Richards and Thomas Garses.
In 1625 Crowder was living on land here that earlier had been claimed by
Captain John Hurleston who exchanged it about Christmas time in 1620
with Captain William Powell. At the time of the census of 1625 Crowder's
Plantation evidently was a small one. He was in residence along with
five male servants, one a boy of fourteen years of age.
EDWARD BLANEY'S PLANTATION (33C)
Blaney's muster of 1625 included fifteen men all in the age group from
seventeen to forty with most being under thirty. He, it seems, was not
in residence here over the water. In 1624 he had represented Jamestown
in the Assembly and was still living in "James Citty" in 1625. He was a
prominent man of affairs and was one of the thirty-one signers of the
planters' answer to the attack on the administration of Colony affairs
during its first twelve years.
CAPT. ROGER SMITH'S PLANTATION (33D)
Smith came to Virginia in 1620 and a year later was named to the
Council, being first designated a "provisionall Councellor" on July 12,
1621. He, it might be added, married Jane, the widow of John Rolfe who
is thought to have been killed in 1622. Perhaps, this gave him use of
the land across the James which Rolfe is reported to have patented.
In 1625 Captain Smith seemingly was, like Edward Blaney, in residence at
"James Citty." He had at his plantation over the river, however, a small
group of nine men one of whom had his wife with him. These were well
armed as were most of those living in this area at the time.
CAPT. SAMUEL MATHEWS' PLANTATION (33E)
Samuel Mathews, long time a councilor in Virginia beginning in 1624,
first came to Virginia, it appears, in 1620. In November, 1622 there is
reference to a patent granted to him for undertaking to transport 100
persons to the Colony. About a month later he seems to have been
interested in Captain Powell's cleared ground across the water from
Jamestown. Mathews evidently seated on it and Powell loaned him "the
howses of the upper fort for the use of his servants." In 1625 the court
saw no way to "put Captain Samuell Mathews who is presently seated
thereon, out of possessione" in spite of a petition to do this.
In a listing of land grants in 1625, there is reference to Mathews
"Divident planted" although no acreage is mentioned. The same list
indicated that Powell had earlier received two tracts of 200 and 550
acres respectively, both of which were now "planted" over the water from
At the time of the census in 1625 Mathews' plantation had a single
muster. It consisted of a minister, Rev. David Sands, himself and
twenty-three men who were all listed as servants. The plantation
apparently had no women in it. The scarcity of wives and children in
this, as in most of the plantations here, would indicate a lack of
settled conditions. Perhaps this was to be expected in an area which had
not long been opened to actual settlement as seems to have been
generally true of this section.
HOG ISLAND (34)
This low marshy area on the south side of the river at the wide bend of
the James some five miles below Jamestown appears in the records as
early as January, 1609. At that time Mathew Scrivener, a Councilor, and
nine others "would needs visit the Ile of hogges." A mishap occurred and
the entire party was drowned en route. Perhaps this was just before "the
hogges [at Jamestown] were transported to Hog Ile, where also we built
[in 1609] a blocke house with a garrison, to give us notice of any
shipping; and for their exercise, they made clapboard, wainscott, and
cutt downe trees against the ships comming." Evidently when the three
sows in one year increased to 60 and odd "piggs" it proved too much for
the fort and its environs at Jamestown. In 1610 there was another
reference to the "Ile of Hogs" and then all is silence for a decade. The
doubtful safety of the spot, its inconvenience, and its distance from
Jamestown probably caused its abandonment as a suitable place for
quartering the Colony's supply of hogs.
In 1619 a request for a grant of 300 acres of marsh land in the area
called "Hogg Iland" was made to the Company, yet precise assignment was
not approved since the Court in England correctly stated that it did not
know "who allredie may lay clayme thereunto or otherwise how necessary
itt may be for the publique." On March 28, 1619, Governor Argall
proclaimed "Hog Island" within the bounds of Jamestown and granted
"inhabitants of Jamestown" the right to plant here as in other parts of
the area as "members of the corporation and parish of the same." There
is still, however, no record of a settlement here and no references to
losses in the massacre.
A year later the picture evidently had changed. In February, 1623, there
is mention of "Ensigne John Utie at Hog-Ileand" in instructions
involving the shipment of "three score thousand waight of sasafras" to
be raised on a levy basis in Virginia. In November, 1624, this John Utie
received a grant of 100 acres at Hog Island for the transportation, in
1623, of two persons to Virginia. He, it seems, was here before his
patent came through. The settlement apparently grew rapidly as the 1624
population listing enumerates thirty-one persons for Hog Island and the
census of 1625 shows fifty-three persons. Although not represented in
the Assembly of 1619, it had two representatives, Burgesses, in the
Assembly of 1624, John Utie and John Chew. Chew, who came to Virginia in
1620 and became a prominent merchant, also had property at Jamestown.
Still another prominent figure at Hog Island was Ralph Hamor. In May,
1624, he filed suit in the general court against Robert Evers. It would
appear that John Bailey received a grant from Governor Yeardley about
1617 for 490 acres on Hog Island. He did not seek to improve his land
and seemed reluctant to locate it specifically. Hamor, too, had a
"particular patent" from the Company in England "which patent was burnt
in the massacre." Moreover he had "a purpose to settle a plantacion
already begunne upon an island, called Hog Island." Reference would
indicate that other areas, too, had been "cleared & seated upon"
including one "parcell of land cleered by Southampton Hundred Company."
The end result was that Robert Evers, guardian for Mary, John Bailey's
daughter, should see to it that the original grant be selected and
"survayde and laid owte in hogg Islande." Any "surplusage" would go to
the next claimant in line, but Captain Hamor would have to be satisfied
"for the buildinge of such howses & cleringe of land as he shall build
and cleare, till the right be decided." Hamor, who already had his
dwelling house here, seemingly obtained some 250 acres in the end.
The 1625 muster would indicate that Hamor was not in residence although
he had seven servants here. It shows, too, that Sir George Yeardley was
in the picture with fifteen men at Hog Island, three listed as
"Dwellers." Five houses were listed but only nine hogs, a number too
small to be impressive. There was some armor, a good supply of small
arms and, comparatively speaking, an adequate stock of corn of 30
barrels. All of this speaks of an established settlement.
LAWNE'S PLANTATION (35)
It was in the spring of 1619 that Capt. Christopher Lawne's "private
plantation" was established. A ship bearing some 100 emigrants and
supplies, sent out by Richard Wiseman, Nathaniel Basse and others
reached Virginia and located on the south side of the James River below
Hog Island. Among other things he was to have provided twenty men for
the common Company land; however, he reduced this to fifteen when the
expected "loane of corne and cattle" was not forthcoming.
He and his men apparently, as was reported later, proceeded effectively
to plant the land he had been granted "accordinge to the purpose of
theire patentes." This was one of four private patents issued in the
first twelve years of the Virginia settlement, the others being that of
Samuel Argall, Martin's Hundred, and John Martin. The Company, on
November 5, 1618, had acted to encourage these particular Hundreds and
it had been specified that they could return what commodities they could
produce to their own adventurers. They could buy from goods in the
general store, if available; however, they could not trade for other
commodities produced in Virginia.
In July, 1619, Lawne's settlement was noted to be a new plantation
recently seated. It was, however, eligible for representation in the
Assembly and Lawne and Ensign Washer journeyed up to Jamestown to attend
the Assembly meeting that summer. In November, 1619, when "the danger of
his seate beinge far from any other Englishe Plantacon in the bottom of
the bay of Warrestoyack" was mentioned Lawne expressed confidence that
he could "make the place good against the Indians beinge a necke land
and defended by his howse...." Besides, he expected in emergency to team
up with "Lieftennant Basse and Ensigne Washer." Together they could
muster "a party of thirtye men."
Shortly, Lawne became ill and because of "his owne sicknes and his
peoples, wherein there was improvidency" he quit his plantation and went
up to Charles City where he died. One contemporary commented that "so
his project is likely, unles better followed and well seconded, to come
to nothing." More was to come. Nathaniel Basse, John Hobson, Richard
Wiseman and other fellow adventurers, with Captain Christopher Lawne
deceased, "applied for and received, on November 13, 1620," a
"confirmacon of their old pattent" in which it was specified that
henceforth it would be called the "Ile of Wightes Plantacon." The heirs
of Lawne were to be protected and the Company allowed five years to
bring the settlement up to strength. A little later Nathaniel Basse went
on to establish a plantation known for a time as "Basse's Choyce."
WARRASCOYACK (BENNETT'S PLANTATION) (36)
Located on the south side of the James River above Nansemond, this
plantation took its name from the Indians of the locality. It, along
with several other sites which included Martin's Hundred, and Pasbehegh,
was described as a "verie fruitful and pleasant" seat, "free from salt
mariches beinge all on the fresh river and ... [a] verie healthfull and
high land." This was unlike "James Citty" even though Jamestown was "as
high as Debtforde or Ratcliffe." Warrascoyack was known, too, as
Bennett's Plantation, and as "Bennetes Wellcome" after Edward Bennett, a
well established London merchant, who, with others of his family,
established it as a "particular" plantation.
Bennett, who was admitted to the Virginia Company on April 12, 1621,
obtained a patent the next October. At the time it was noted that he
"had deserved singularly well of the Company before he was a member
thereof, and since his admittance hee had been att a verie great charge
for transportinge of people to Virginia...." On November 21, 1621, he
was issued a patent for 100 "planters." This undoubtedly explains how
quickly Warrascoyack was settled.
It was evidently well established in the spring of 1622 when there is
reference to the "houses wherein Warresquiocke people were placed."
This, it should be added, was not the only plantation to be contemplated
in the Warrascoyack district. Captain Christopher Lawne, in 1619, for
example, was in the general area having been located just to the north
of where Bennett's patent was fixed and "Basses Choyse" was not far away
to the south, downstream.
The Indian massacre was disastrous to the Warrascoyack settlement. More
than 50 men and women were slain "at Mr. Edward Bennett's Plantation"
including the commander "Master Th: Brewood, his wife, his childe, two
servants." Perhaps, the Indians remembered the fall of 1610 when Edward
Brewster and Samuel Argall fell upon their Chief and burned two of his
townes accusing him of "acting falsely." There had been no hint of
destruction when the Indians returned "one Browne" two days before the
onslaught. Browne had been living with them to learn their language.
Following the massacre Governor Wyatt ordered Captain Ralph Hamor to
"bring away all the people and goodes from Wariscoyack upp to James
Cittie" for safety. The military expedition against the natives may not
have been wholly successful or, perhaps, there were other reasons that
delayed the return to Warrascoyack. Such might be inferred from
Bennett's request to the Company on October 7, 1622 "that his people
might be returned to his plantacon at Warascoacke." He was given leave
for the "repossessinge."
In April, 1623, the Governor by proclamation ordered the building of a
fort at Warrascoyack. This, "to defend ... against the invasion of any
forreine ennimy," was more against external than internal foes. It was
to be by public subscription and to be carried out under Captain Roger
Smith's direction in six months. It was known to require "great
ordnance." Two years later, however, it had not been effected although
it was still considered a good point from which "to secure the places
Evidently the massacre produced but a temporary delay at Warrascoyack.
The picture painted in a letter from Richard to Edward Bennett on June
9, 1623, written from Bennett's Welcome, was one of new supplies, fears
of encroachments, growth and thankfulness: "Our men stande well to ther
helthe God be thanced and I hope to make you a good crope, bothe for
tobaco and corne. The forte is abuildinge apase." The Indians were still
respected nonetheless and the plan called for an expedition "to cute
downe their corne and put them to sorde" after "we have wedid our Tobaco
and cornne." It was a little later in the year that William Bennett, the
minister at Warrascoyack, sued for his two years of back
salary--1,533-1/3 pounds of tobacco.
In 1624 the plantation was represented in the Assembly by one John
Pollington. In fact, in that year, the settlement had thirty-three
persons including three negroes even though twenty-six had died in the
preceding twelve months period. A year later, in 1625, the population
had dropped to nineteen. A dozen more deaths were recorded including
five "slayne by the Indianes." Mortality continued high at Warrascoyack
("Warwick Squeake" as it was occasionally designated).
In the February, 1625 census listings, there were two houses, a store,
and two palisadoes. Armament was light, consisting of nine suits of
armor and thirteen "fixed pieces." The largest of the four musters was
that which listed the twelve servants of Edward Bennett. The others were
one, two, and four persons respectively. Before May, 1625 it was
reported out of Virginia that some 1,750 acres of land had been
patented at "Warrasquoake plantacon downe wards from Hogg Island xiiii
miles, by the river side." This included 300 acres "planted" by Captain
"BASSE'S CHOYSE" (37)
In November, 1621, the Virginia Company voted a patent to Arthur Swayne
and Nathaniel Basse, adventurers, and to their associates to transport
100 persons to Virginia. This patent for a "particular plantation" was
further confirmed in January, 1622. Basse evidently proceeded to execute
the necessary measures to translate this into reality. He was in
Virginia in October, 1622.
Basse located in the Warrascoyack area downstream from Bennett's
Plantation and proceeded to establish his settlement. In 1624 he
represented it in the Assembly. About this time the settlement numbered
some twenty persons, but a year later it had only twelve in four
separate musters. The even dozen inhabitants included three women and a
child, "borne in Virginia," all indicating family life rather than a
military outpost. Arms and weapons were in plentiful supply nonetheless:
twenty-two "armours" of various types, twenty small arms, four pistols,
twelve swords and two pieces of ordnance. There was ample corn, a good
fish supply and seven houses to give the settlement comfort.
Basse, it appears, had planted by patent some 300 acres and his neighbor
to the north was interested in his activity. In June, 1623 Robert
Bennett wrote to Edward Bennett in Virginia asking that he report
whether Basse, or others, might "claim anye lande as ther righte" in the
Bennett's Welcome sphere.
A settlement was attempted on an island in the Nansemond River in the
late summer of 1609, yet it was of short duration. With Jamestown
overpopulated, due to the arrival of the third supply, and dissension
rife, Smith sent out several parties with supplies to establish other
posts. For the Nansemond effort, he dispatched sixty men under the
command of Captain John Martin and George Percy. The expedition moved
partly by water and partly by land and consolidated in the Nansemond
River. When efforts "to barter with ... [the Indian Chief] for an island
righte opposite ageinste the maine ... [for] copper hatches and other
comodeties" failed, the island was seized by force with little concern
for the natives who proved wholly unhospitable. "So haveinge scene
Capte: Martin well settled I [George Percy] retourned with Capte Nellson
to James Towne ageine acordinge to apoyntementts."
The Indians continually attacked the settlement and the good supplies of
corn in the area could not be utilized. For reasons of business and
safety Martin journeyed up to Jamestown. Reinforcements helped not at
all. A party sent from Nansemond to trade at Kecoughtan was not heard
from and many of the settlers were killed in skirmishes in the area of
the island post. In late fall, it was necessary for all survivors to
return to Jamestown, as Percy relates, "to feede upon the poore store we
had lefte us."
THE EASTERN SHORE (39)
The census of early 1625 showed clearly that the colonization of the
area across the Chesapeake Bay was secure. The enumeration listed a
total of fifty-one persons, a decline from the seventy-six persons named
the year before. The listing of property and accommodations, however,
showed stability and establishment. This embraced twenty dwellings and
seventeen stores, the latter, perhaps, suggesting an active Indian trade
which had long been a hopeful prospect here. There was, too, a fort and
a substantial listing of arms: thirty-five firearms, three swords and
twenty-eight armors as well as 155 pounds of powder and 646 pounds of
shot. The inhabitants were classified as thirty-two free, seventeen
servants and two children (forty-four males, seven females). The
Company's and Secretary's tenants were seated on their respective lands
although they had not yet been surveyed. The several distinct musters
included those of Charles Harman, John Blore, and Captain John
Willcockes as well as "Ancient" Thomas Savage. The largest was that of
Captain William Epes who could count thirteen servants. All were grouped
on the Bay side of the lower part of the peninsula and, although not
contiguous, formed a compact group in "The Kingdome of Acchawmacke."
This was in a sense the most isolated of all Virginia plantations being
separated from the main body of the settlement by the wide waters of the
Chesapeake. It enjoyed, however, a healthful climate, fruitful land and
waters, and a continuing friendly Indian population.
As early as June, 1608, an exploring group under John Smith had made a
landing on the Eastern Shore and visited the Indian "King of
Accawmacke." They learned much of the area including the observation
that the natives fished "with long poles like javelings, headed with
bone." This was the beginning of a lasting friendship with "Laughing
King," a friendship which was strengthened by Thomas Savage, the young
boy exchanged with Powhatan in 1608, who later went to dwell across the
In 1613 Samuel Argall, seeking fish for the James River settlements as
well as trade, visited the Eastern Shore. He found people "who seemed
very desirous of our love." He traded successfully for corn, found great
store of fish and then explored along the outer islands observing that
"salt might easily be made there, if there were any ponds digged, for
that I found salt kerned where the water had overflowne in certain
Argall's thoughts about salt manufacture were followed up in June, 1614
when a group of some twenty men under Lieutenant Craddock was dispatched
to the area to set up a salt works and to catch fish. This was the first
settlement "across the Bay" and it was known as "Dale's Gift" after Sir
Thomas Dale then deputy governor in Virginia. The site selected for the
work was on Smith's Island along the outer edge of the point of the
peninsula. The quarters for the workmen may have been built on the
mainland just above the point of the peninsula long known as Cape
Dale's Gift endured for a time although it appears to have been
abandoned during Argall's administration. It was one of only six points
of settlement as listed for Virginia in 1616. John Rolfe's description
of it at this time shows its garrison-like quality: "At Dales Gifte
(lieng upon the sea neere unto Cape Charles, about thirty miles from
Kequoughtan) are seventeen [men] under the command of one Leiftenaunte
Cradock; all these are fed and maintained by the Colony. Their labor is
to make salte; and to catch fishe at the two seasons aforemencioned
[spring and fall]." The work was allowed to lapse and in 1620 the "salt
works" were described as "wholly gone to rack and let fall" with serious
consequences. It led, it appears, to some "distemper" in Virginia caused
by the colonists "eating pork and other meats fresh and unseasoned." In
any case measures were taken in 1620-21 to re-establish the works and
Pory reported that he had found a suitable spot not far from "where was
Permanent colonization of the Eastern Shore dates, it seems, from about
1619 when Thomas Savage went there to live on a large tract of land
lying between Cheriton and King's Creek (Savage's Neck) given him by
"Laughing King" (Debedeavon). Savage, as reported by John Martin who
visited there in April, 1619, was already well established in Indian
councils. Both Savage and Martin recognized the value of trade with the
Indians here as did John Pory who visited the Eastern Shore in 1621.
Pory, Secretary of the Colony, had been authorized the year before to
lay out 500 acres and to place 20 men on them for the support of his
office. This he did sending 10 men in 1620 and 10 more in 1621. In 1621,
too, John Willcox planted across the bay. In this same year Sir George
Yeardley obtained a large acreage from Debedeavon. When Yeardley, in
June, 1622, crossed the bay to inspect his property he was so pleased
with what he saw that he stayed six weeks. There had been no massacre
here for "Laughing King" had refused to join in the Indian plot. He had,
in fact, warned the Governor of the impending catastrophe. The area
across the Bay had also escaped the "foull distemper" that swept along
the James plantations about this time. Mortality had been high from the
epidemic that probably came from the newly arriving immigrants to
The Eastern Shore was now well established. In 1624 its first
representatives, Captain John Willcox and Henry Watkins, were sent to
the Assembly which met at Jamestown in March. It appears that a
minister, the Rev. Francis Bolton, served here for a time. Others moved
over from the western shore including Lady Elizabeth, widow of Sir
Thomas Dale. Few, it seems, came directly from Europe to Virginia's
Eastern Shore. Most came after a sojourn in one, or more, of the
settlements along the James.
ELIZABETH CITY (KECOUGHTAN) (40)
Early in 1625 the community of Elizabeth City, or rather the communities
that made up Elizabeth City, could count some 359 persons. This included
those "Beyond Hampton River" earlier referred to as "At Bucke Row." In
the year before, 1624, this area had counted some 349 (thirty at "Bucke
Roe") and in that year a total of 101 had died. These figures indicate
both a high mortality as well as a high rate of immigration into this
section. Elizabeth City, in 1625, was the largest community in Virginia,
much larger than James City and its Island with its 175 persons (218 in
1624), which held second place in population.
In 1625 it was an established community including 279 males and eighty
females. Four were negroes. More than twenty-five per cent were living
beyond Hampton River. It had the large total of eighty-nine houses
besides twenty stores, all beyond Hampton River, and twenty-four
palisadoes. Its supplies of corn and fish were large and ample compared
with other settlements although it was weak in livestock and poultry
when viewed in comparison with Jamestown and some of the upriver
communities. Although strong in small arms, it had a major allotment of
ordnance. It did boast of six boats. Excepting Jamestown, this was the
largest fleet in the Colony although the Eastern Shore was close with
There were fifty-four separate musters or groups in Elizabeth City with
the largest of them being that of Capt. William Tucker including his
wife and daughter, "borne in Virginia in August," and eighteen others.
Among these were three negroes, Antoney, Isabell and "William theire
Child Baptised." There was, too, the muster of the ancient planters John
and Anne Laydon and their four girls, all Virginia "borne." The oldest
of them was the first child born in the Colony. Nicolas Martiau was
listed here, as was Ensign Thomas Willoby and Edward Waters. In addition
to the fifty-four musters, or groups, in Elizabeth City proper there
were sixteen resident beyond Hampton River. These embraced Captain
Francis West and Sergeant William Barry. The latter had fifteen servants
which was a larger number than most musters enumerated. It appears that
in excess of 4,000 acres of land had been patented and the greater part
of it had been planted. Patents, too, had been issued for land across
the Hampton Roads on the south side of the James River, yet none is
listed as having been planted at this date.
Elizabeth City began on the site of an Indian village on the west side
of Hampton Creek and was known by its Indian name of Kecoughtan for a
decade. The English first saw this spot on May 1, 1607 when the three
ships moved over from Cape Henry. The friendly Indians welcomed the
shore party and took them to their village of some 18 houses of twigs
and bark and twenty fighting men where there was food, a friendly smoke,
After this visit the settlers moved on up the James and it was fall
before the English were here again. John Smith then traded successfully
with them for corn. Smith was here again in the summer of 1608 and in
the following winter always being well received and refreshed before
leaving. There is clear evidence that the first post established by the
Colonists for trade with the Indians was here where Indians and whites
lived together in some number. When, however, Humphry Blunt out of Fort
Algernourne, that is Old Point Comfort, was killed by Indians at
Nansemond, Sir Thomas Gates used the opportunity to punish the Indians
by driving the Kecoughtans away from their cornfields and fishing
grounds. It was in the summer of 1610 that he "posseseinge himselfe of
the Towne and the fertill ground there unto adjacentt haveinge well
ordered all things he lefte his Lieftenantt Earley to comawnd his
company and retourned to James Towne."
In October, 1609, after Smith's departure for England, President George
Percy had sent Captain John Ratcliffe down to the mouth of the river to
erect a fort due to "the plenty of the place for fisheinge" and "for the
comodious discovery of any shippeinge which sholde come uppon the
co[a]ste." He chose Point Comfort, so named in 1607, and designated it
"Algernowns Foarte" after Lord De La Warr's "name and howse." When
Ratcliffe was killed by the Indians while on an expedition up the York,
Captain James Davis was named to command in his stead.
Those at Point Comfort in the winter of 1609-10 apparently fared much
better than those at Jamestown. When Percy visited here he found them,
he reports, "in good case and well lykeinge haveinge concealed their
plenty from us above att James Towne beinge so well stored thatt the
crabb fishes where with they fede their hoggs wold have bene a greate
relefe unto us and saved many of our lykes."
It was on the Kecoughtan site that an English settlement (Hampton) began
to evolve. For two or three years it was little more than a military
outpost and a plantation where corn was grown to help fill the larder at
Jamestown. To supplement the fort at Point Comfort, De La Warr had two
more built on either side of a small stream, Fort Henry and Fort
Charles. This river De La Warr called the Southampton (Hampton), the
name that came to be applied, too, to the wide waters into which it
flowed, Hampton Roads. The forts were intended both as strongholds
against the Indians and as a rest stop, or acclimation point, for
incoming settlers "that the weariness of the sea may be refreshed in
this pleasing part of the countree."
The forts were abandoned in the fall, but when Sir Thomas Dale reached
Point Comfort on May 22, 1611, he reoccupied them. He left James Davis
in command of Fort Algernourne and proceeded to restore Fort Charles on
the east side of, and Fort Henry on the west side of, Hampton River
before going on to Jamestown.
It was in 1611 that a Spanish caravel appeared at Point Comfort, picked
up an English pilot and sailed away leaving three of its crew. One of
them was the spy Diego de Molina who later reported that Fort
Algernourne had a garrison of twenty-five and four iron pieces. A fire
destroyed the fort, except for Captain Davis' house and storehouse. He,
however, rebuilt it with "expedition." In 1614 "Point Comfort Fort" as
Fort Algernourne was called after Percy left in April, 1612, was
described as a stockade "without brick or stone" containing fifty
persons (men, women and boys), protected by seven iron pieces. Soon
after this the fort evidently fell into disuse.
In 1613 each of the forts on Hampton River had fifteen soldiers but no
ordnance and in 1614 Capt. George Webb was the principal commander of
both. Ralph Hamor at this time described them as "goodly seats and much
corne ground about them, abounding with the commodities of fish, fowle,
deere and fruits, whereby the men live there, with halfe that
maintenaunce out of the store, which in other places was allowed." He
thought it an excellent spot except "we cannot secure it, if a forraigne
enemy, as we have just caus to expect daily should attempt it."
The settlement grew slowly as the report of John Rolfe in 1616 shows:
"At Keqoughtan, being not farr from the mouth of the river, thirty-seven
miles below James Towne on the same side, are twenty [persons] whereof
eleven are Farmors. All these also mayntayne themselves as the former.
Captain George Webb Commander, Mr. William Mays Mynister there."
At this time it ranked fifth in size of the then existing six Virginia
settlements. Only Dale's Gift on Eastern Shore was smaller. The largest
at the time was Bermuda Hundred with its 119 persons. Jamestown was
second with fifty. Although small it can be assumed that since 1611,
although much a military post, it was changing. Rolfe relates that there
were women and children "in every place some" and where there are women
and children there is family life.
In 1619 the settlement of Kecoughtan was captained by William Tucker and
he and William Capps represented the settlement in the first House of
Burgesses. It was evidently on their petition that the Assembly was
asked "to change the savage name of Kiccowtan, and to give that
Incorporation a new name." It was so ordered, and the new name was
Elizabeth City after the daughter of King James.
The next five years saw extensive growth in this area including the
assignment of 3,000 acres of Company land, 1,500 acres for common use
and 100 acres for a glebe. In 1620 some Frenchmen were sent to the Buck
Roe section to instruct the colonists in planting mulberries and vines
and in sericulture and viniculture. In 1621 Captain Thomas Newce came as
manager of the Company lands and obtained a grant of 600 acres for
himself. The resident minister at the time was Reverend James Stockton
who took a rather dim view of Indian character.
The massacre of 1622 did not leave any dead at Elizabeth City. This
appears to have been due in part to the good work of Captain Newce who
took defensive measures and made plans to alleviate the suffering
resulting from the Indian devastation. The massacre stimulated the
growth of population in Elizabeth City which still, however, was not
immune from Indian attack as witnessed by the four who were killed in
William Tucker of Elizabeth City was one of those whom Wyatt called on
to lead punitive attacks on the Indians. Following these the Indian
threat to Elizabeth City was essentially removed and the area came to
enjoy peace and freedom for development as was reflected in the census
of 1624 and that of 1625. In 1623 it was called in one document "the
first plantation." The Elizabeth City community embraced the sites of
Point Comfort, Fort Charles, Fort Henry, and Kecoughtan, west of Hampton
Creek, as well as the areas of Buck Roe, "Strawberry Banks," east of
Hampton Creek, and "Indian Thickett."
NEWPORT NEWS (41)
The English first saw the site of Newport News on May 2, 1607 as they
ascended the James River en route to Jamestown. There is, however, no
reference to an Indian site here or to any specific use of the area,
which Smith listed as "Point Hope" on his map of Virginia, until more
than a decade later, November, 1621 when Daniel Gookin settled here. It
is reported that "at _Nupor[t]s-newes_: the cotton trees in a yeere grew
so thicke as ones arme, and so high as a man: here; any thing that is
planted doth prosper so well as in no other place better."
A brief account penned by David Pietersz de Vries, a Dutch shipmaster,
who visited Virginia in March, 1633 implies that Newport News then was
an established watering point for incoming, and even outgoing, vessels.
His description tends to provoke the thought that such had been the case
for years, perhaps from the early days of Virginia. "The 10th, we sailed
up the river [James]. When we came to the before-mentioned point of
Newport-Snuw, we landed and took in water. A fine spring lies inside the
shore of the river, convenient for taking water from. All the ships come
here to take in water on their way home. After we had procured some
water, we sailed on...." On March 20, when leaving Virginia, De Vries
observed again "anchored at evening before the point of Newport-Snuw,
where we took in water."
The earliest known reference to the name Newport News is in a letter
written from Jamestown on November 11, 1619 when the inhabitants of
Kecoughtan were assured the opportunity "to choose ther divident alonge
the banke of the great river betweene Kequohtan and Newportes Newes."
The origin of its name is obscure yet it is not unlikely that Captain
Christopher Newport is honored here. A second reference, one in January,
1620 lists "Newports Newes." Later references, in the Virginia Company
records (1621-24), show varying forms: "Newportnewes," "Nuports Newes,"
"New ports-newes" and "Newport newes." The name seems established before
Gookin and his friends, the Newces, entered the scene; hence it is
improbable that Newce or Newcetown, Ireland, is responsible for the
name. The name "Newportes Poynte" is shown on Robert Tindall's map of
1608 but it refers to a point on the York River rather than to the
Newport News site.
Daniel Gookin was a friend and associate of Sir William Newce and
Captain Thomas Newce, both prominent in Virginia affairs, yet not of
long time in the Colony, and like them was from Newcetown in Ireland.
All had plans to establish a strong settlement in Virginia. As early as
November, 1620, the Company had agreed to pay Gookin to transport some
livestock to Virginia. He was promised a patent in Virginia for a
"particular" plantation. His arrival and establishment, late in 1621, is
recorded in a letter of the governor and council in January, 1622:
There arived heere about the 22th of November a shipp from mr
Gookine out of Ireland wholy uppon his owne adventure,
withoute any relatione at all to his contract with you in
England which was soe well furnished with all sortes of
provisione, as well as with cattle, as wee could wishe all men
would follow theire example, hee hath also brought with him
aboute fifty more uppon the adventure besides some thirty
other passengers, wee have accordinge to their desire seated
them at Newportes news, and we doe conceave great hope (if the
Irish plantacone prosper) that frome Ireland greate multitudes
of people wilbe like to come hither....
His plantation did, it seems, prosper, yet not without loss in men and
effort. In the spring of 1623 when forty new men reported to the
settlement things were not good. "Of all Mr. Gookins men which he sent
out the last year we found but seven, the rest being all killed by the
Indians, and his plantation ready to fall to decay." At the time of the
Indian massacre he refused to take refuge in a stronger place deeming
his settlement strong enough to withstand attack. With thirty-five men
he succeeded in this and, it seems, was the first to reach England with
news of the massacre. His son Daniel Gookin, Jr., evidently took over
the management of the settlement when he left.
The census of 1625 from "Newportes newes" lists only the muster of
Daniel Gookin and would indicate that neither he, nor his son, was in
residence at the time. The listing shows only a total of twenty
servants, eight of whom came in the _Flyinge Hart_ in 1621 and twelve of
the forty who had come in the _Providence_ in 1623. The entire
population was male and evidently they lived in four houses; at least
only four were reported. At the time corn supplies stood at thirty
barrels and cattle numbered fifteen head. For arms, the plantation had
sixteen fixed pieces, twenty swords, and three pieces of ordnance. It
would seem that the area of the plantation embraced 1,300 patented acres
all of which were "planted."
In January, 1624 it had been sufficiently strong to be included in the
Governor's instructions to Captain William Tucker, of Elizabeth City.
These called for the meeting of "all the free men inhabiting in those
plantacons under your comand at Keycotan & Nuport Newes [for the purpose
of] by pluralitie of voices to make election of twoe men" to attend the
General Assembly called for February. Of the four who were chosen from
the "Incorporation of Elizabeth City," however, two were from Elizabeth
City proper and two from "Elizabeth City beyond Hampton River." None was
from Newport News.
BLUNT POINT (42)
The extent of settlement in this area on the north side of the James
above Newport News in 1625 is difficult to determine. There had been a
number of land patents issued prior to this date. One for 100 acres, on
August 14, 1624, was to Edward Waters at "Blunt point" and several
others were issued four months later in the area between the point and
Newport News. Some were to old residents of Newport News and Kecoughtan
and several were issued to new arrivals. One grant for 150 acres to
Maurice Thompson had been made as early as March 4, 1621. Patented
acreage at "Blunt Pointe" and "belowe Blunt Point" in 1625 embraced some
2,200 acres and 1,390 acres respectively.
The massacre of 1622 forced the withdrawal of any who may have been
located in the area at that date. Included in the list of those killed
at the time was Edward Walters, his wife, child, maid and boy all at
"Master Edward Walters his house" which may have been in the Blunt Point
vicinity. If this were really Edward Waters who received the patent at
Blunt Point in 1624, it would mean that he had already established
himself here. Such is conceivable since, at the time of the massacre, he
and his wife were made prisoners by the Nansemond Indians and possibly
could have been listed as dead. He was fortunate in being able to manage
an escape and took refuge at Elizabeth City (Kecoughtan).
Waters was an ancient planter who had come to Virginia with Gates,
reaching the Colony in 1610. He was one of a party who returned to
Bermuda for hogs for Virginia. Circumstances intervened and he remained
there about seven years. It was not until about 1617 that he returned to
Virginia where he was married and settled down. In 1625 he was listed
as living at Elizabeth City with his wife, son and daughter, "borne in
Virginia." His muster then included six servants and five others.
In a statement made by a number of Virginia planters on April 30, 1623,
there is mention of the plantation at "Blunt point" which would imply an
established settlement here at that time. It was enumerated along with a
number of others, including Newport News, which were described "as verie
fruitfull and pleasant seates." This was ten months after Captain Samuel
Each's offer to "erect before the end of March  uppon the oyster
bankes, a block-house, that should forbid the passage of any shipp" up
the James. Each felt that he could lay his vessel near "Blunt point" and
do this with dispatch with his mariners and twelve carpenters. The
Governor and Council embraced his offer to build this "Block house about
Blunt Point." Company officials in England, too, liked the idea very
much. Seemingly, however, it never materialized. Instead, talk turned to
the fort which was undertaken at Warrascoyack on the opposite shore of
MULBERRY ISLAND (43)
On the north side of the James River some ten miles below Jamestown,
this "island" embraces some ten square miles of ground. Its name
evidently was derived from a heavy growth of the native Virginia
mulberry trees (_Morus rubra_). This must have been the case since
"Mulberry Island" and "Mulberry Point" were in use as place designations
as early as July, 1610. It was so named even before it was settled.
When Gates was proceeding down river, having abandoned Jamestown, in
June, 1610, it was just off Mulberry Island that he encountered Lord De
La Warr's "long boat" which gave word of reinforcements and supplies.
This saved the Colony and Gates reversed his course and returned to
Jamestown. In this way Mulberry Island is linked with this decisive
meeting which greatly affected the survival of the Colony.
It is not clear when actual settlement of the Island began. Seemingly it
was not before 1617 or 1618. In any event, about this time, settlers did
begin to drift in to this section of the James River basin. In 1619 it
appears that Captain William Pierce patented 650 acres in this quarter.
Pierce had been in Virginia since 1610 and in 1617 was well established
being Captain of the Guard at Jamestown where he had "the fairest
[house] in all Virginia." Now, however, he removed to his new holding
where, before March, 1622, he built another home and established his
Another prominent patentee at Mulberry Island was John Rolfe who had
"land on Mulberry Island Virginia" before March 10, 1621. He and "some
others," including William Pierce, obtained 1,700 acres by patent and
proceeded to "plant" it. His chief residence at the time was in Bermuda
Hundred and it is doubtful that he resided here. He had, it might be
mentioned, in 1620, married Jane the daughter of Captain William Pierce
and he appears to have lost his life in the Indian massacre.
It is not known how many others "planted," or lived, here at this time.
Evidently it was not sufficient to send a representative to the Assembly
in 1619. Whatever growth it enjoyed was checked by the Indian massacre
in 1622. It is recorded that Thomas Pierce, probably a son of William,
his wife and child, two men and "a French boy," were killed at Thomas'
house "over against Mulberry Island." The resettlement of the area after
the massacre was delayed. No persons are listed from this locality in
1624 nor were there representatives in the Assembly of the same year.
Within a year, however, the picture had changed.
The census of January, 1625 lists thirty persons, twenty-five males and
five women, at "Mulburie Island." Not much else is listed in the muster
except the arms of the settlement. The twenty-two suits of armor, the
thirty-seven "fixed pieces" and the forty-two swords would indicate
that protection was uppermost in the plans. There were several distinct
musters including those of Anthony Baram and Thomas Harwood, yet the
largest was that of Captain William Pierce. Although not in residence
himself, he had thirteen servants at Mulberry Island. Except for
Pierce's, there were no other servants save one of Thomas Harwood.
MARTIN'S HUNDRED (44)
This was one of the earliest of the "particular" plantations and had a
larger and more vigorous life than most. It has been said that this
might be listed as the leading, or model, Hundred in the Colony. It was
one organized and promoted by a group within, yet outside of, the
regular Company projects. It was named for Richard Martin, an attorney
for the London Company. He was a leading member in the Society of
Martin's Hundred as this special group of adventurers was known. Another
leader in the sponsoring group was Sir John Wolstenholme whose name was
associated with the town, described in January, 1622 as "the Towne in
Martin's Hundred [which] is now seated called Wolstenholme Towne."
Wolstenholme was located on the James, it seems, and the boundaries of
the Hundred, when laid down in 1621, were measured five miles along the
"river called (Kinge) James River" in each direction from it. This was
five miles toward Jamestown and five toward "Newportes Newes." Northward
the bound was the Queenes River alias Pacomunky [York]. It is of
interest to note that the boundaries were to "the middest" of the
rivers. Roughly its 80,000 acres lay on the north side of the James
between Archer's Hope and Mulberry Island.
In October, 1618, the Society sent its first colonists to Virginia.
These made up a party of 280 who reached Virginia several months later
in the _Guift of God_. Several additional groups were sent out in 1619,
a large party in 1620 and others in 1621. The latter were sent, it was
recorded, "to plante and inhabite and to erect and make perfect a church
and towne there already begunne." At the time of the Assembly in 1619 it
was an established community and sent its representatives up to
Jamestown--John Boys and John Jackson.
It appears to have been a determined lot of "ancient adventurers" who
sponsored Martin's Hundred and the record indicates that they worked
hard and zealously to make it a paying organization. They were, however,
often beset with difficulties. Shipmasters and mariners abused them as
did the "Capemarchant," according to their reports. When they sought
Company shares to sustain losses in one shipment to Virginia, Sir Edwin
Sandys reminded them that they were a particular group. He related "As
Martins Hundred hath been at great charges, so have divers other
hundreds, so have also beene many perticuler persons, Captaine Bargrave
alone hath brought and sett out divers shipps ... Sir Thomas Gates, and
Sir Thomas Dale, besides a multitude of other[s], who have spent a large
portion of their estates therein...."
In May, 1621, Yeardley wrote concerning the arrival of servants to be
located at Martin's Hundred. He described the difficulty of making land
assignments "because we have never a surveyour in the lande." He added
too that "the undertakers at Martins Hundred would thinke themselves
muche wronged, if any other should be sett on worke to divide their
groundes." He commented, too, that a proper division might be better
since he had heard that the Society "intende ... to buy out the Indians
of Chischiack [on the York River]."
Martin's Hundred suffered severely in the massacre of 1622. The
slaughter took a total of seventy-eight persons including the commander.
Among those killed were a score of women and children showing that
family life was well developed here. The loss was so great that the
settlement was temporarily abandoned along with a great many others in
Virginia. The abandonment was of short duration, it seems, for new
references soon appear such as that naming Captain Ralph Hamor "to have
absolute power, and comand in all matters of war over all the people of
Martins Hundred." In any case "the replantinge" was left to the Society
which had originally established it. Although the Company deemed it,
along with others which had been deserted, "of absolute necessitie," it
was too busy with its own projects to aid materially.
The Society "set forth a verie chargeable supply of people" in October,
1622. When William Harwood was mentioned for the Council, Martin's
Hundred asked that he not be named since they needed his services full
time. Reverend Robert Paulett was named instead. In April, 1623 it was a
going concern although life was dark in the eyes of Richard Frethorne
who wrote of the danger, hunger, and the heavy work. He related "ther is
indeed some foule [fowle], but wee are not allowed to goe, and get it,
but must worke hard both earlie, and late for a messe of water gruell,
and a mouthfull of bread, and beife." He stated that of twenty who came
the last year but three were left. In all, he said, "wee are but
thirty-two." The Indians he feared; "the nighest helpe that Wee have is
ten miles of us." Here "wee lye even in their teeth." The break in the
monotony, it seems, was an occasional trip to Jamestown "that is ten
miles of us, there be all the ships that come to the land, and there
must deliver their goodes." The trip up took from noon till night on the
tide. The return was the same.
Nothing came, at this time, of the proposal for "runninge a pale from
Martin's Hundred to Cheskacke," between the York and the James rivers.
The stockade across the peninsula was still a decade away. When built it
would be several miles to the west. There is nothing to indicate that
the church, or school, for which William Whitehead left funds in his
will in 1623, ever materialized. The plan was that it be built in
Evidently conditions at this time were at a low ebb. George Sandys felt
it was a pity that the project could not be pushed more vigorously.
When the plantation was asked to take a number of the "infidelles
children to be brought up" the officials asked to be excused since they
were "sorely weakened and ... in much confusion." The Indians, too, were
still around. The Governor in May, 1623 urged that the "Commander" keep
watch, insure the carrying of arms and prevent stragglers from loitering
about. The Indians were suspected of coming to "spy and observe."
Seemingly the plantation, perhaps already a parish in the church
organization, was not represented in the Assembly in 1624.
At this time Martin's Hundred was reported to have twenty-three persons,
but twenty-eight had died within the year, two being killed. At the time
of the general census of the next year, there were but thirty-one, a
fact that indicates small growth. To accommodate these there were seven
houses, supplies of corn and fish and some cattle and hogs. The
settlement was well stocked in weapons with thirty-two armors of various
types, thirty-one swords, and fifty-two small arms. Perhaps William
Harwood, who was in charge, remembered well the massacre.
ARCHER'S HOPE (45)
The place name Archer's Hope is older even than Jamestown located
several miles upstream from it. Here on May 12, 1607 colonists went
ashore to evaluate a spot as a site for their initial settlement. It had
advantages, yet it was not possible to bring the ships in close to the
shore so the next day they made choice of Jamestown. Gabriel Archer, it
appears, liked the spot and it was named in his honor. The site was at
the mouth of College (Archer's Hope) Creek, the waterway that may have
been used by the Spanish Jesuit missionaries four decades earlier when,
in 1570, they were searching for a mission site in Virginia.
Even though the settlers elected not to establish themselves here in
1607, it was in the Jamestown neighborhood and very likely was soon in
use. It is clearly established that a distinct community took form
within a dozen years. Unfortunately not much is known prior to 1619
when a number of land grants were made to men like William Fairfax, John
Fowler, William Capp and Joakim Andrews, most with established Jamestown
connections. It was at Archer's Hope that the great massacre reached
closest to Jamestown. Five persons were slain "At Ensigne Spence his
house." Following the slaughter the settlement appears to have been
abandoned with survivors taking refuge elsewhere, perhaps, at Jamestown.
The abandonment was of short duration. On February 16, 1624 some
fourteen persons were in residence here, at least three family units and
presumably a number of servants. Evidently this was not sufficient to
merit representation in the Assembly of 1624. The fact that Archer's
Hope had a commander, Thomas Bransby, and that its inhabitants had been
cautioned not to go too far from their homes alone, even when armed,
leads to the conclusion that there was still danger from the Indian,
"the Enemie," even in 1625. At the same time there is evidence of an
expanding agriculture and increasing population. Archer's Hope had its
disturbers of the peace as well in citizens such as Joseph Johnson who
from time to time found himself answering to the General Court.
The census of 1625 named fourteen persons as constituting the settlement
of Archer's Hope which then extended to the east as well as to the west
of the creek bearing the same name. Each of the four major entries
showed a single house although there must have been more than this in
aggregate. On a population basis the amount of arms and armor available
would indicate that, perhaps, the community had a military cast. Food
supplies were about normal, yet no livestock is shown except eight hogs
which included "piggs" as well.
Altogether, by this date, at least 3,000 acres of land had been taken up
by fifteen persons, many of them "ancient planters." The largest grant,
750 acres, had been to Rev. Richard Buck, minister for Jamestown.
Richard Kingsmill had received 300 acres as had Ensign William Spence
and John Fowler. Two, William Claiborne and John Jefferson, had 250 acre
parcels, but all others had lesser amounts. Only three were shown as
"planted." The list omits a grant of some size to George Sandys which
was located in the precincts of Archer's Hope but well to the east "on
the ponds, dividing from the land of Martin's Hundred." On the west
Archer's Hope was separated from James City's "Neck-of-Land" by the
Jamestown parish glebe land.
"NECK-OF-LAND NEARE JAMES CITTY" (46)
This area lay behind Jamestown Island on the mainland between Mill and
Powhatan Creeks. Even though separated from "James Citty" only by the
narrow Back River and its marshes, settlement seemingly was delayed for
a decade. At least the records are silent on the matter if colonists did
establish here in the first years.
It clearly emerges as an established settlement in 1624 when its
population was given at twenty-five persons including at least four
families with servants and dependents. That same year it sent its own
burgess to the Assembly at Jamestown, its most prominent resident,
Richard Kingsmill. Early in 1625 the population stood at eighteen, six
freemen, three women, three children, five servants and a single negro.
A comparison of the names given in 1624 with those in 1625 points up the
shifting of persons that must have been a part of the Virginia scene at
this time. As might be expected from its proximity, a number of the
residents of the "Neck-of-Land" had property also at Jamestown or in the
The 1625 muster listings included six houses, a boat, twenty-six and a
half barrels of corn as well as some "flesh," fish, and meal. Livestock
embraced eleven cattle and thirty-one hogs, "yong & old." There was only
one "armour" and two "coats of male" yet small arms, shot and powder
were in greater supply. The General Court records offer an occasional
glimpse of life here in these years. There was, for example, the
decision in 1624 that the "lands and goods" of John Phillmore, who died
without a will, should be given to Elizabeth Pierce "unto whom he was
assured and ment to have maryed."
* * * * *
This then was the Virginia of 1625--a settled area embracing the James
River basin and the lower part of the Eastern Shore. It was very rural
with the people busy about the task of developing a new land. Some
twenty-seven distinct communities, groups, or settlements were
enumerated at this time, yet even these may not fully suggest the scope
of the occupied, or cultivated, land. These settlements were chiefly
along the north and south shores of the James River, eastward from the
falls to the Chesapeake Bay. Though loosely knit geographically, they
were a unit politically with affairs, for the most part, administered
from the capital "citty" of Jamestown. Actually the Colony even now was
poised for an extension of its frontier inland from the river fringe
especially across to the banks of the York and into what was to become
the Norfolk area. This would precede "the push to the west" that later
became such a familiar pattern.
In the first seventeen years, despite hardship, suffering, death,
discouragement and defeats, a great deal had been accomplished in
Virginia. The colonists, some of whom had already become "ancient
planters," had met and learned many of the ways of the wilderness and
the new environment. They had learned to survive and had gained
knowledge of the country's advantages and disadvantages and its nature
and extent. After many false starts, a source of wealth had been found
in tobacco. Security was coming to replace insecurity and individual
well-being was rising above the earlier general storehouse or magazine
system. Government, too, after several changes of direction, had become
stable and even embraced a representative legislative assembly. It
seems that King James I, when he took over, directly, the management of
the Colony, must have found that the Virginia Company of London had
built well in the New World. Otherwise, the change of administration
would have been more disrupting than it was in Virginia.
Andrews, Charles M., _The Colonial Period of American History: The
Settlements_ I. New Haven, c.1934 (several printings).
Andrews, Matthew Page, _Virginia: The Old Dominion_. New York, c.1937.
Brown, Alexander, _The First Republic in America_. Boston, 1898.
Brown, Alexander (ed.), _The Genesis of the United States_.... Boston,
1896. 2 volumes.
Chandler, J. A. C., and Thames, T. B., _Colonial Virginia_. Richmond,
Craven, Wesley Frank, _The Dissolution of the Virginia Company of
London_. New York, 1932.
Forman, Henry Chandlee, _Jamestown and St. Mary's: Buried Cities of
Romance_. Baltimore, 1938.
Hamor, Ralph, _A True Discourse of the Present Estate of Virginia and
the Successe of the Affaires There Till the 18 of June, 1614_. London,
1615. The J. Munsell reprint (Albany, 1860) The Virginia State Library
are more readily available.
McIlwaine, H. R. (ed.), _Minutes of the Council and General Court of
Virginia, 1622-1632, 1670-1676_. Richmond, 1924.
Neill, Edward D., _History of the Virginia Company of London_. Albany,
New York, 1869.
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William and Mary Quarterly_, 3rd Series, V, 177-184 (April, 1948).
Rolfe, John, _A True Relation of Virginia_ [in 1616] as printed by Henry
C. Taylor. New Haven, 1951.
Sams, Conway Whittle, _The Conquest of Virginia_. 4 volumes ("The Forest
Primeval," "The First Attempt," "The Second Attempt," and "The Third
Attempt"). New York, 1916-1939.
Smith, John, _The Travels and Works of Captain John Smith_. Edited by
Edward Arber with introduction. Edinburgh, 1910. 2 volumes.
Stanard, Mary Newton, _The Story of Virginia's First Century_.
Strachey, William, _The Historie of Travell into Virginia Britania
(1612)_. Edited by Louis B. Wright and Virginia Freund and printed for
the Hakluyt Society. London, 1953. (Also available in an edition edited
by H. H. Major. London, 1849.)
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New York, 1930.
_The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and James River_. Richmond, Va.,
1906 (2nd edition).
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Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson, _The First Americans 1607-1690. A History
of American Life_, Volume II. New York, c.1927 (various printings).
Wingfield, Edward Maria, _A Discourse of Virginia_. Edited by Charles
Deane. Boston, 1860.
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1607-1761_. New York, 1947.
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c.1907 (several reprints).
SUPPLIES FOR VIRGINIA
One of the most informative ways, perhaps, to get an idea of daily
living in early Virginia is to read, and study, a list of the household,
personal and general objects which were sent to the Colony. One of the
most detailed such lists that has been preserved is one that itemizes
the cargo sent in the ship, _Supply_, which left England in September,
1620, bound for Berkeley Hundred. This is given in digest below. It is
adapted from the list in the Smith of Nibley Papers and is available in
published form in the _Bulletin of the New York Public Library_, III,
No. 7 (July, 1899), pp. 283-290 as well as in the _Records of the
Virginia Company of London_, III, pp. 385-393.
Bought at London
15 grosse of buttons; 60 eles of linnen cloth; 15 eles of
canvas; 10 yards of blue linnen for facinge the doublets; tape
and thread; 42 yards of brode cloth at 6_s_ the yard for 20
cassacks & breeches; 57 yards of dyed holmes fustian at 18_d_
the yard for 20 doublets; makinge the said 20 doublets
cassacks & breeches at 3_s_ 4_d_; 10 doublets & breeches of
russet lether with lether lynings L8 15_s_ & 9 gros of lether
buttons 10_s_ In the wholl with the makynge; glas beades of
severall sorts; drugs & phisicks bought of Mr Barton
Apothecary by doctor Gulsons direccon for the flipp & scurvy
&c; wainscot boxe and hay to pack the same in &c; drifatt to
send downe the 30 sutes of apparell and cariage of the same
from the Taylors to the wayne at Holborne bridge & porters.
Bought at Stoke
20 bushells of wheat at 3_s_ 6_d_; 336 lbs. of butter at 5_d_;
336 lbs. of cheese at 25_s_ the 112 lbs.; 2 corslets & 2
callivers furnished; a musket.
Bought at Nibley and in the Country.
22 bushells of white pease bought by Mr Smyth of Mris. Leigh
of Combe at 2_s_ the bushell 44_s_ & cariage to Nibley 2_s_
6_d_; 9 bushells more of white pease bought of Sam Trotman at
22_s_ the bushell (which were the best of all.); 9 bushells of
3 square wheat in ears in 2 great pipes at 4_s_; 12 bushells &
halfe of malt (dryed on purpose) put into another great
canary pipe at 2_s_; 3 pipes, & for one other pipe, 2
hoggsheads &, 2 lesser casks to put the said pease in, &
caryage in 2 waynes from Nibley to Berkeley, with 12_s_ spent
by the plowman there, & to the couper to head & dresse them.
Bought at Bristoll faire and after there.
522 dozen of buttons, parte thread, parte haire and 6 dozen of
greene silke; 12 dozen yards of garteringe, of 2 sorts & 4
colors &c; 6 grosse of poynts beinge 72 dozen whereof the one
half of lether, the other of thread; 5 paire of double
boxcombes & 6 bone combs; 10 dozen of knives whereof 9 dozen
of one sort and one dozen of another sort; one dozen of
sisers; one dozen of womens sheares; 4 payres of Taylors
sheares of 2 sorts; one dozen of paringe knives; 6 other
knives; 600 & an halfe of cheese bought by Wm Hopton at 14_s_
& 16_s_ the hundred beinge 101 cheeses; 4 quires & an halfe of
paper for all the servants indentures and other draughts, ec;
54 ells of dowlas at 15_d_ ob. for shirts; 58 els 3 quarters
of canvas for sheets at 14_d_; 24 els of canvas at 15_d_ and
66 els of canvas at 13_d_ ob; 52 els of canvas at 15 for
shirts; 84 ells of canvas at 13_d_ for sheets; 81 ells quarter
of canvas at 14_d_; 82 ells and an halfe at 14_d_ of canvas;
56 ells & an halfe of canvas at 14_d_; 32 ells of dowlas at
14_d_; 3 dozen of fallinge bands at 7_s_ 6_d_ the dozen; 5
dozen of fallinge bands at 6_s_ 6_d_ the dozen; 2 dozen
falling bands at 5_s_ 6_d_ the dozen; 10 dozen of
handkercheifs; 49 payre of Irish stockins; 22 payre of Irish
stockins; 34 payre of Irish stockins; one barrell of tarre;
one barrell of pitch; 6 hoggsheads of baysalt for Virginia; 30
stone of stocks at 2_s_ 6; 10 reaphooks; 2 fryinge pans; 2
bolts of browne thread; one bolt of black thread; 8 lbs.
browne thread; 20 pickaxes; 40 weedinge howes; 30 spades; 2
sithes; 10 felling axes; 6 squaring axes; 20 bed mats; 10
bushells di. [_i.e._ one-half] peck of oatmeale at 4_s_; 5
bushells of oatmeal grots at 6_s_; 2 grindstones; 2 french
mill stones; 102 lbs. of sope; 10 traces of onyons; 10 gallons
3 quarts of oyle & the runlet to put it in; 6 baskets used
about the ship; 6 bells; 6 bandeleres; 1 quarter of 100 of
match; 6 swords; makinge 51 shirts at 3_d_ & 2 towells;
makinge 25 payre of sheets; 100 di & 13 lbs. of lead beinge 6
bars; 200 of lead shot at 1_d_ the lb.; 160 lbs. di of powder
at 15_d_; a little caske to put 12 lbs. of powder in; 200
payre of shoes of 4 sizes.
Garden seeds vzt parsnip, carret, cabbage, turnep, lettuice,
onyon mustared and garlick; 2 tun of sider bought at Bristoll;
1 hoggeshead of new sider sent Mr Thorpe; hallinge to the
storehouse and lynes to maile in it; charges of Robt Lawford
at Bristoll imployed divers dayes buyinge of provisions &c; 60
gallons & one pottle of aqua vite at 3_s_; 22500 nayles of
severall sorts; 2000 of hobnayles; 4000 of sparrowbills; bags
to put nayles in and to the porter; given, to the poore and
spent at hiringe the first ship by Felgate; given to break of
from that ships after 14 days; one dryfatt and 3 tun of caske
untrimd; 15 dozen of candles at 4_s_ 4_d_ the dozen; 2
barrells of Irish beoffe bought by Toby Felgate; one other
barrell bought by Tho. Kewis; 2142 lbs. of beoffe & porke,
salt for it & charges in saltinge and barrellinge beinge in 13
barrells; 200 di [_i.e._ one-half, or 50 lbs.] of codfish at
46_s_ the 100 called Cornish fish; cariage of 1300 waight from
London parte by horse & parte by wayne to Bristoll &
waighinge; a chest to put small parcells in; 100 3 quarters 7
lb. of iron hoopes to hoope 6 tun of beere at 3_d_ the pound;
dyet & lodginge in Bristoll upon one accompt at the Horshooe
and Horsmeat & hire of Toby Felgates horse twice to Nibley.
Markams works of husbandry & huswifry bound togeather and for
the like of Gowges &c; the copies of the counsells order for
fishinge & about tobacco and of Sir Edwin Sandis project, and
of the artificiall wine, to be sent over to Mr Thorpe, payd
the Secretary; 18 tun of beere at 36_s_ p. tun and for 3
barrells spent in the ship; 8800 of bisket at 12_s_ the 100
lbs. and 21 lbs. over and a quarter of 100 more; 20 ruggs at
8_s_ the peece; 100 of monmoth caps and bands; a boylinge
kettle filled for the ship at 17_d_ the lb. beinge 36 lbs. di
[_i.e._ one-half]; 60 gallons of sack at 2_s_ 6_d_ the gallon
in 4 runlets; one hoggeshed of wine vinegar; cloutleather
32_d_ shoo-thread 26 dozen 4_s_ and 4 half quarter of hemp
4_s_ 1_d_; to the couper upon his bill for 39 tun of caske and
2 barrells of all the fraight contayninge 142 vessels bought
of him besides what came from Mr Tracy & Mr Smyth; and to the
coupers journeyman for many labors by him done; to Mr Ewens in
parte of the wages for the hire of his ship before hand by
acquitance and by indorsement of his chartre party; to the
grosser for sugar, pepper, ginger, cynamon, nutmegs, cloves,
mace, dates, raisons, currants, damaske prunes, rice, saffron,
almonds, brimston, starch & one ream of paper; a masons great
hammer & trouell bought by Richard Piers for himselfe; 8
bushells of meale at 4_s_ the bushell; 2 great & 2 lesser
lanthornes 5_s_ 2 shod shovels, 20_d_ bellowes, lables,
trenches, mustard bolls, tape cannells, bread baskets, wooden
spoones, tundish, 18 cans, mustard pot, 12 porridge dishes 18
quarter cans, 2 horne tunnels, 2 horne cups, a pair of scales,
3 little drynking cups, 3 dozen wodden sawcers, 4 dozen
platters, 6 wyre candlesticks, 2 panyars, & 1 pepercorne all
wood; makinge of bolsters and other parcells upon many
particulars, as hallyers, 29_s_ 10_d_ wood 23_s_ 4_d_ cordage
to trusse and cabynes 7_s_ 4_d_ padlockes 4_s_ 6_d_, 3 spades
& 2 howes 9_d_ makinge 30 sheets and 21 shirts, 11_s_ 8_d_ 28
bolsters makinge &c.
Bought of Mr Tracy.
100 payre of knit stockins; watchinge the wayne & cariage of
the 13 brode clothes that Benedict Webbe sent to Bristoll to
the storehouse; 9 swordes; 9 corslets; 9 muskers wherof 6 are
with snaphanses; 6 callivers; 4 coates of plate; 4 partizans;
12 felling axes made in Deane, and for 2 squaring axes; 10
hatchets; 24 augurs of severall sorts; 2 handsawes; 12
sithes; 24 reaphooks; a vise for a smyth; a bras serine for a
glister pipe; 15 peeces beoffe roafed [?] & 4 tongues; 43 lb.
of cheese; 9 flitches of bacon; 20 bushells of white pease at
2_s_ 4_d_; a barrell of pippen vinegar; 2 broadaxes; 2 felling
axes; 2 adizes; 2 handsawes; 2 hatchets; one 2 inch augur; 6
turnynge tools; 2 googes; 4 brode chesills; 7 playnge irons;
small chesills; one twibill; mendinge of servants tooles; 4
millpecks; one anvill; 2 turninge irons; 13 brode clothes of
29 yards the peece and 7 brode bought of Benedict Webb by Mr
Tracy; buckerom & canvas to pack them in; to Boswell the
apothecary upon his bill for drugs and other like stuffs
bought by Mr. Pawlet as appeareth.
Payd Mr Felgate upon accompt for charges about the breadroome,
& cabins, for joyners worke, pitche, nayles, bordes &c; payd
for wages of 5 of our seamen for 3 weeks di [_i.e._ one-half]
4_s_ the weeke dayly helpinge ended 17 September Saturday
night; and for the dyet of Toby Felgate at Bristol for 7 weeks
at 6_s_ p. weeke; payd Toby Felgate upon his bill for the
charges of himselfe and hire of his horse to Bristoll and
cariage of his sea cards, affaires & apparell; payd at the
Horshooe for a chamber to stowe our goods bought at St James
faire for 5 weeks; imprest to Mr Felgate to buy 1000 couple of
Newfoundland fish; 2 sives to make gunpowder in Virginia; a
barre of iron and hangers in the cookroome in the ship; the
hire of the Swanne cellar 5_s_ and for Hendens cellar for all
our goods 11_s_; charges of diet of Mr Smyth & parte of the
company at the White Lyon, and for the bord wages of other
parte of the company for 14 dayes as by accompt kept by Willm
Archard; paper, inke & parchment for comissions and
quadripartite covenants & indentures &c; 2 boxes for cariage
of comissions, lettres indentures &c. into Virginia; the hire
of a boat that caryed Mris Tracy & the weomen & children from
Bristoll to Crockhampill; to the boatmen at Barkley for
caryage of 2 tun di of pease, wheat, wheat eares malt &c. to
Bristoll; to Mr Willet Customer outwards for the customs of 10
brode clothes & pretermitted dutyes, which is to be repayd
upon certificate from Sir Garroway & Sir John Worsuam; payd
Mr. Tracys bill for a tramell net; payd for the passage of 20
men & weomen from the partes of Hayles to Bristoll, & the hire
of some horses dyet & lodginge at the Horshooe and at Mris
Lewis house and lodginge of many servants as by severall bills
appeareth over & besides what Mr Smyth thought indifferently
fit to abate which Mr Tracy referred to him &c; for wrytinge &
ingrossinge the 2 comissions quadripartite covenants 35 payre
of indentures and divers other particulars; sent to Mr Tracy
upon his lettres after I was come to Nibley to be supplyed,
whilst he lay for wynd at Crockampill with all his company &c.
This list makes it crystal clear that supplying Virginia was both a
costly and time consuming operation. It is clear, too, that supplies
were of the nature that encouraged permanent colonization and residence
in Virginia. Those Englishmen who founded the Colony took as much of the
English way of life with them as was possible be it personal or
political rights and freedom, books, food, clothing, utensils, or
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